5G Cell Tower Deployment
5G is the “fifth generation” of cellular networks. Hailed as a major technological breakthrough, 5G has the potential to provide peak download and upload speeds comparable to fiber connectivity, together with real-time responsiveness, while connecting a multitude of devices simultaneously. Additionally, 5G is intended to support new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and other use cases that will require near real-time connectivity.
Many 5G networks are created by installing multiple small cells, which complement large cell towers to provide seamless coverage. Small cells are frequently attached to utility poles, light poles, or buildings, and work collectively to create radio access networks (“RAN”) and transmit data via electromagnetic radio waves (radio frequency energy). The cells have a much shorter transmission range than traditional cell towers (typically 500 to 1,000 ft).
In contrast to the longer wavelengths associated with older wireless technologies (i.e., 3G and 4G), which allow macro-towers to be separated by miles, 5G will rely on shorter millimeter wavelengths that travel only short distances, and therefore require that small cell facilities be placed closer together.
Can deployment of 5G be halted during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Probably not. The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance on March 30, 2020 which provided that engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber optic cables, buried conduit, small cells, other wireless facilities, and other communications sector-related infrastructure are essential workforce. This includes construction of new facilities and deployment of new technology as these are required to address congestion or customer usage due to unprecedented use of remote services. Moreover, the FCC has provided that there are extremely limited scenarios in which emergency moratoria on 5G deployment would be permissible to protect the public safety and welfare (i.e., when power lines are down, local government may need to limit access to rights-of-way until the effected area can be restored). For more information see Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
The demand and need for high-speed data connectivity from residents, businesses, and visitors is on the rise with no end in sight. 5G is the latest approach to increase wireless capacity for smartphones and internet service.
Fishers continues its emergence as a leader and innovator. It is this type of innovation that will enable residents to experience gigabit speeds that were previously only available via costly fiber. The City plays an important role and is actively working to streamline the development processes and effectively and efficiently pave the way for innovators to implement technologies that will drive economic vitality and close access barriers and gaps to serve our diverse communities. Technologies like 5G promise to revolutionize the daily lives of people.
*Newly proposed facilities must adhere to the City’s reasonable aesthetic requirements. For example, facilities deployed along our major thoroughfares will generally match City infrastructure.
The City is currently working on ways to strengthen the 5G approval process with Verizon Wireless. The revised process will include a meeting with HOA leadership and property management groups to review all pending and proposed sites. We will work directly with property owners that do not have an established HOA Board.
Find answers to frequently asked questions about 5G small cell tower deployment.
Neighborhood or Homeowners Associations may register to be notified by US Mail of any application for construction or placement of Small Cell facilities on new utility poles or support structures within the Association’s jurisdiction. To register, please email your Neighborhood/Homeowners Association mailing address and contact information.
Find information about the partnership which allows telecommunications providers to deploy this technology on city-owned facilities (i.e., traffic lights, signal poles, buildings).