Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sprint Tells FCC: Tribal Siting Costs Are Rising Quickly

The FCC opened a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in order to ease wireless infrastructure siting barriers, Inside Towers reported. Now, Sprint gives us an inside look at what it paid to deploy small cells around Houston’s NRG Stadium for the Super Bowl. The company considers tribal siting costs to be spiraling out of control and suggests the agency review those.
 
Sprint paid more than $173,000 to deploy a total of 23 small cell sites around the stadium to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act. Filings to the FCC suggest costs were imposed on carriers by the city of Houston or the Texas Historical Commission, says Sprint in an FCC filing. But actually, the figures Sprint referenced were imposed by federal law, not state or local historic reviews, the carrier clarifies. Continue Reading

Friday, May 19, 2017

FCC Begins Net Neutrality Roll Back With Industry Backing

The FCC voted 2-1 to begin the process to roll back the Obama-era Net Neutrality rules, starting what will likely be a several-months long fight over the future of internet regulation. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the current rules chill broadband investment while opponents dispute this. The issue is of interest to readers because it gets to the heart of the further rollout of street furniture such as small cells and antennas for 4G and eventually 5G.

The rules passed by former Chairman Tom Wheeler changed the classification of the internet from an information service, which they had been considered since the Clinton-era, to a utility in which ISPs must treat all internet traffic the same, with no fast or slow speed lanes.

Pai said “The internet was not broken in 2015,” yet the FCC at the time “succumbed to heavy handedness from the White House and changed course.” Seventy fixed wireless providers “say their hands are tied” by the regs and 22 of the smallest ISPs have slowed if not halted new builds.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

High Frequency Traders Turn to Towers for Competitive Advantage

According to Information Week Magazine: “A one (1) millisecond advantage in trading applications can be worth $100 million a year to a major brokerage firm.”  In the wireless arena it is referred to as “latency,” i.e., how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another.
 
Traders making millions of transactions a minute recognize the superiority of wireless for sending and receiving data. Jump Trading LLC recently installed microwave antennas across the street from the data center operated by CME Group, the world’s biggest futures exchange located just outside of Chicago. The development was precipitated by the need to submit trades faster, and the company is not alone. Many companies are installing microwave equipment around the facility to stay ahead of other competition. According to ZeroHedge.com, faster data transfers can make the difference between billions in profits or losses for traders. Placing microwave towers close to the CME data center, reduces the amount of time data is transferred by fiber-optic cable, and allows trading firms to operate faster. Continue Reading

Monday, May 15, 2017

Study Reveals 911 Call Centers are “Woefully Behind the Times”

UPDATE In today’s world, we’re able to pay bills, schedule a ride pickup and even remotely control the thermostat and lights in our houses using our phones. But when we most need them—during times of emergency—our devices might prove useless, according to a recent study by south Florida’s WBBH-TV.

Investigators from the station placed phone calls using the four major carriers from inside a local 911 dispatch center. Each time, dispatchers could only pinpoint the caller’s location within three to four miles, as they were relying on pings from the nearest cell tower.
Charlotte County’s E911 coordinator Laurie Anderson explained that the technology dispatcher centers used were designed for landline devices, not cell phones. Current 911 technology dates to the 1960s and 1970s, Inside Towers reported.  Furthermore, Anderson said dispatchers rely on the carriers for the location accuracy of wireless 911 callers.  Continue Reading

Friday, May 12, 2017

Americans’ Wireless Data Use Continues to Skyrocket

CTIA released its Annual Wireless Industry Survey, which found Americans used a record 13.72 trillion megabytes (MBs) of mobile data in 2016, an increase of over 4 trillion MBs over 2015, and 35 times the volume of traffic in 2010.  The amount of data traffic sent over wireless networks in 2016 -13.72 trillion MBs – is the equivalent of 1.58 million years of streaming HD videos.

“Americans are using more wireless data than ever. As wireless becomes central to our lives and the U.S. economy, it’s no surprise that Americans’ mobile data usage continues to skyrocket,” said CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker.  “This continued growth underscores the need to free up more spectrum and modernize infrastructure processes at all levels of government to make way for next-generation 5G networks – and hundreds of billions of industry investment.” Continue Reading

Thursday, May 11, 2017

U.S. Senator Thune and NATE Pay Tribute to the Tower Technician Workforce


NATE will unveil this morning a commemoration declaring today, Thursday, May 11, 2017, Tower Technician Appreciation Day. This day has been set aside by NATE to coincide with OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Week in order to pay tribute to the important work that tower technicians conduct on a daily basis to enable a mobile society.

NATE was joined by U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in honoring the work of the men and women who deploy and maintain America’s communications infrastructure.

“It’s a privilege to join NATE to congratulate and thank the dedicated men and women who work in South Dakota and around the country to build, upgrade, and maintain our nation’s communication towers and infrastructure,” said Sen. Thune. “Tower erectors and technicians put in long hours and hard work, and they possess a unique set of skills that is essential to effectively deploy today’s wireless broadband network and lay the groundwork for the 5G network of the future.”  Continue Reading

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lower Broadband Capex Raises Concern From USTelecom

 
USTelecom says its early data “strongly suggests” that investment in broadband dropped in 2016, for the second year in a row. That raises a red flag for the association.

“Closing the digital divide and bringing more Americans access to the benefits of high-speed internet service won’t happen if new investment in broadband infrastructure continues to fall,” writes Patrick Brogan, vice president of Industry Analysis for USTelecom in a blog post. In 2016, capital expenditures for ISPs was $71 billion, down from $73 billion in 2015, and $74 billion in 2014, USTelecom’s current estimate shows. That’s $2.5 billion to $3 billion lower in 2016 than it was in 2014, the year before the FCC reclassified the internet as a utility – known as Title II.

Claims by some interest groups that broadband provider capex actually may have increased in 2015 and 2016, depend on figures that ignore accounting adjustments for certain non-material items like leased cell phones and acquisitions, such as AT&T’s merger with DirecTV and a Mexican wireless operation, according to Brogan. Continue Reading