Monday, January 16, 2017

Wheeler Signs Off: Worries About Undoing of Open Internet…and More

Outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says it wouldn’t be easy to undo much of the regulations the FCC passed under his tenure. Speaking from The Aspen Institute think tank on Friday, the former telecom lobbyist listed opening up spectrum for 5G deployment, “nearing completion of the world’s first incentive auction” and improvements in 911 and cybersecurity as accomplishments. (see story below for Wheeler’s comments on zero-rating policies)
He made an impassioned argument against relaxing or undoing the Open Internet and Net Neutrality regs. “We are at a fork in the road, one forward and one backward.” Going forward in Wheeler’s mind is the era of ISPs under “light touch regulation, accompanied by a referee on the field to throw the flag when necessary.” Looking backwards, he says, takes away what consumers can enjoy now and “throws into question” ISP activities.  Continue Reading

Friday, January 13, 2017

“The Rain Turtle” and Other Tower Superstitions…Happy Friday the 13th!

The tower industry abounds with colorful characters with quirky rituals…especially when you get “inside the fence” of a tower site.  Although the rules of logic and safety and, most importantly, the law of gravity take precedence, on a Friday the 13th other ‘traditions’ may show themselves at the morning tailgate meeting.  One of the more prominent superstitions among tower crews is ‘the rain turtle.’  According to David “Gunny” Harrison, owner of Telecom Resources Group, the turtle, who may have origins from Native American rituals, has several functions.  
“Well sir,” said Harrison, “ya’ have two versions of it depending on whom you ask, but it was the superstition of tower hands that would be wishing for rain because of being hungover, tired or what have you.” Crew members or the foreman would draw a turtle, one with only three legs, in the dirt on the site or place rocks in the shape of a turtle and it was said to bring rain. “‘Course when one did this fortunately it was always overcast and chances were it was going to rain,” said Harrison. “We used to make the rain turtle out of clay,” said one tower tech. “Got chewed out for drawing it once, but then it rained like hell.” Continue Reading

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New York City to Complete WiFi and Cellular Upgrades in Subway Revamping


New Yorkers commuting on the subway will no longer have to worry about dropped calls and poor wireless coverage. Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the city will soon complete its communication upgrades on the city’s underground transit system, one year earlier than expected, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

“We are reimagining our subway stations to meet the needs of the next generation,” Cuomo said in a recently published press release. “This will better connect New Yorkers who are on-the-go and build on our vision to reimagine the country’s busiest transportation network for the future.” Continue Reading

Monday, December 26, 2016

Research Shows Consumers Demand More Mobile Network Capacity

Local public officials would benefit from seeing the results of a new study showing almost 100 percent of consumers use a smartphone, and 50 percent use wireless tablets. The study was commissioned by the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and performed by iGR, a market strategy consultancy specializing in the wireless and mobile communications industry. The report “Entertainment Services: The Future Is Mobile” was published on December 20.

The WIA noted several other important features from the report. Six out of ten Americans watch videos on mobile devices every day, and 20 percent will use cellular data networks even if WiFi is available. Iain Gillott, President and Founder of iGR, summarized why these facts are important to the wireless industry. He said, “Our research found that the majority of Americans view high-speed mobile access as a necessity rather than a luxury. They expect access in all locations and at all times of the day. This expectation is only going to grow stronger and stronger in coming years.” Most consumers use their phone to watch video, which uses much more data than other functions. The result is increased demand on mobile networks, and a compulsory increase in infrastructure to expand and improve those networks.

Continue Reading

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

AT&T Tells FCC to Back Off on Zero Ratings Concerns…or Else

The FCC recently sent letters to major telecoms such as AT&T and Verizon, relating concerns about zero ratings services being bad for competition. The carriers told the Commission to back-off or potentially face consequences from the incoming Trump administration.
Under zero ratings, carriers essentially offer certain services to consumers that don’t count against their data limits; those can include video programming using services like DirecTV that AT&T is offering, Inside Towers has reported. Verizon handles its Go90 streaming service the same way.

The issue is major telecoms that own the majority of the networks providing internet connections can afford to remove data charges while streaming; other companies that have to pay the charges to provide the same streaming service cannot. Continue Reading

Monday, December 19, 2016

Town Violated “Shot Clock Order” Federal Court Decides

The case of Up State Tower Co., LLC v. Town of Kiantone ended when the district court in New York state decided the town interfered with the deployment of wireless services, but it offers little clarity for the situation. Up State Tower Co. sought to provide a cell tower for the area’s consumers over a year ago. After a ten-month battle, the court ruled the Town of Kiantone violated Section 332(c)(7)(B)(ii) of the Communications Act, which establishes tower applications should be acted upon within 150 days of submission. Continue Reading

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

China Tower Corporation with Over 1M Towers Goes Public Soon

When wireless infrastructure company China Tower Corporation is listed publicly by early 2017, one network operator is expected to get a bigger boost than others—China Unicom, reports the South China Morning Post. Last October, the Wall Street Journal reported the tower company was formed by the three largest carriers in the country, China Mobile Ltd., China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corporation transferring their assets to the joint venture.  China Telecom was leasing 550,000 towers, or 55 percent of its total, from China Tower according to mobileworldlive.  

China Mobile leases one million towers, or 30 percent of its total from the state-owned joint venture.
The carriers said the move will enhance network coverage and save on capital expenditure for constructing telecom towers, which hold equipment for their mobile networks, the Journal said. Continue Reading