Thursday, March 31, 2016

NATE Graduates Another 43 In Great Lakes Fall Protection Class

The traveling safety program stopped in Middleburg Heights, OH, Tuesday and more than three-and-a-half dozen industry workers from tower service and maintenance companies in the Great Lakes region got the lessons of their lives. The National Association of Tower Erectors, teamed with training provider Safety Controls Technology (SCT) to show the class the ropes, or as it is officially known, the Fall Protection Worker Training course. It focuses on the hazards in the communication tower industry and includes employee rights, employer responsibilities, whistleblower protection, high angle rescue, principles of fall protection, principles of safe climbing, tower systems, testing safety climb systems, testing personal protective equipment (PPE) and conducting a job safety analysis, according to NATE. Continue Reading

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NAB: ‘FCC Staff Deserves Considerable Credit For Getting Us to This Point’

fcc justice
Oh whatta difference a week makes! If NAB’s open letters to the FCC were accompanied by background music, yesterday’s 350-word note titled simply “It Begins” from EVP/Legal and Regulatory Affairs Rick Kaplan to all at the FCC celebrates the start of the FCC Reverse spectrum auction and would be read with the gentle harp sounds of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” Contrast that with NAB Associate General Counsel Patrick McFadden’s March 23, bombastic missive of 1,012 words headlined “Time to Stick to the Facts and Find the Right Answer,” a response to what NAB characterized as “repeated disingenuous comments” by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that NAB initially supported a 30-month “repacking” timeframe for TV stations to relocate to another channel after the incentive auction. That letter’s soundtrack might have easily been Steppenwolf’s thunderous and raucous 1968 counter-culture hit, “Born To Be Wild.”
Continue Reading

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

FCC Reverse Auction Begins Today

FCC is charged up and ready to go and with the intention of maintaining “America’s Global Leadership in Wireless,” will launch its long-awaited reverse auction today. In a statement issued Friday, the agency noted that the United States leads the world in key areas of wireless infrastructure and innovation, including being the first country to have 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology networks at scale and to enable unlicensed use of white space spectrum.” The FCC described the process as “An Innovative Auction to Repurpose Spectrum,” noting today “there are more connected devices than there are people living in the U.S., and about 70 percent of Americans use data-hungry Smartphones.” Continue Reading

Friday, March 25, 2016

FAA: Tower Lighting Configurations Save Thousands of Birds Annually

bird towerWhite and red steady-burning lights, flashing lights and strobe lights, along with various combinations of the three types of lights, tower lighting configurations conceived by the FAA for towers and tall structures to warn pilots they are approaching an obstruction, particularly during nighttime hours and in bad weather, may save thousands of birds each year, the FAA believes. The regulations were crafted in conjunction with the FCC. Continue Reading

Thursday, March 24, 2016

NAB Blasts FCC Chairman For ‘Disingenuous’ Testimony

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 7.54.14 PM 
Broadcasters sent up their fighter jets as part of an informational bombing mission over FCC Washington, DC headquarters “The Portals” Wednesday, claiming that agency Chairman Tom Wheeler had not provided all of the facts to Congress when discussing the time it will take broadcasters to relocate antennas, transmitters, and other equipment and reestablish broadcast operations following the second phase of the upcoming spectrum auction, set to begin on Tuesday.
Continue Reading

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Auction: ‘Unprecedented Logistical Challenges, Require Careful Coordination’

nabWith the start of the reverse auction just days away, the post-auction transition could be poised to begin in mere months and broadcasters could be getting a little jittery over spectrum and spectrum auctions. In a four-page letter to the FCC yesterday, the NAB pointed out “a successful broadcast spectrum incentive auction includes three key components: the reverse auction; the forward auction; and the transition of broadcasters into a reorganized band plan… Repacking broadcasters into a smaller portion of the UHF band after the close of the auction will present unprecedented logistical challenges and require careful coordination, as well as close cooperation with the broadcast industry. At a minimum, several hundred broadcast television stations will be moving to new channels, with finite resources. Further, the potential for interference within and between adjacent markets will mean in many cases that all stations in a market may need to complete their channel moves in a carefully coordinated fashion, and that delays for individual stations may have widespread implications.” Continue Reading

Monday, March 21, 2016

DTC Fires Back At T-Mobile on TV Repack Assessment

pointIt took a month but Digital Tech Consulting is disputing T-Mobile’s February 17, claim to the FCC that DTC’s study of the agency’s upcoming spectrum incentive auction and the challenges for the TV and tower industries “reflects a number of flawed assumptions and conclusions,” as the carrier claimed. In a March 17, letter to the FCC, DTC President Myra Moore said, “First: T-Mobile erroneously assumes that antennas identified as ’broadband’ are capable of transmitting on all contiguous channels within all or a portion of the UHF band without modification. This is inaccurate, and reflects T-Mobile’s failure to research the capabilities of these antennas. In fact, most of these antennas will need significant alterations, which cannot be performed while the antennas remain on towers, to operate on new channels. As a result, T-Mobile meaning fully underestimates the scope of antenna removal and installation work the transition will require.” Continue Reading

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Adelstein Warns ‘Data Crunch’ Will Be Industry Problem

Nashville, TN – The world has evolved to a place in which mobile devices are an indispensable part of our daily lives. From using a mobile device to pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks to paying monthly bills on a Smartphone, the wireless world is increasingly merging into the real world. But it’ll need some tinkering.

While this explosion of wireless technology has introduced a previously unrealized level of convenience for consumers, it has presented a significant difficulty to wireless carriers responsible for supporting the networks for customers’ mobile devices.

Yesterday, in his keynote address to the South Wireless Summit, Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of PCIA — The Wireless Infrastructure Association, said the imminent “data crunch” is for carriers. Using a number of statistics, Adelstein elucidated carriers’ growing challenge—data has increased twelve-fold from 2009 to 2014, and will increase by an estimated 700% in the next five years. Continue Reading

Friday, March 11, 2016

Deutsche Telekom AG Considering Cash Options for Infrastructure Assets

European telephone companies are looking for ways to raise more cash, and Germany-based Deutsche Telekom AG is following suit. The company, which has about 40,000 cell sites in Europe, may look at options like a spinoff or initial public offering, according to Bloomberg. The IPO could value assets in billions of dollars.
“Talks are still at an early stage and no final decisions have been made about which assets might be included,” but carving out infrastructure that transmits phone signals can both raise cash and lower expenses, reports Bloomberg.

Continue Reading

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

California Town’s New Rules Draw Carrier Questions

light houseRancho Palos Verdes, CA, a coastal town in Los Angeles County and adjacent to one of America’s most-populated cities, has a new ordinance regulating how wireless cell towers are approved and installed, after residents worked together to pressure town officials following a misunderstanding last July. The City Council passed the stricter law last week. Rancho Palos Verdes currently has 140 wireless towers operating throughout the city. Continue Reading

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Radio Group Owner Appeals Tower Denial In Florida Keys

fl keysBob Holladay, owner of U.S. 1 Radio and four other stations in the Florida Keys, has filed an appeal with state Department of Administrative Hearings after the Monroe County Planning Commission agreed with a horde of angry residents and swatted down Holladay’s request to build a new 199-foot monopole on Sugarloaf Key. The pole, he said, would be home to his five radio stations and have rental space for cell carriers. Continue Reading

Monday, March 7, 2016

Wall Street Firm Sees Slow Down Ahead For Towers

Wells Fargo Securities analysts last week downgraded the growth rate for the tower sector. The concern is carriers are avoiding network contracts until 5G standards are finalized, and the FCC’s incentive auction is complete.
In a research note, quoted by Fierce Wireless, the analysts noted, “Bottom line — we believe the industry is facing some growing pains right now in the U.S. Will it pass? Yes, we believe so.” They went on to say, “We believe the carriers are pushing back and new incremental growth will be harder from here as we wait for the spectrum auctions, FirstNet, and 5G decisions and standards all get sorted out.”  Continue Reading

Friday, March 4, 2016

Anchorage-Based GCI To Sell Tower Division

The Anchorage, Alaska-based multi-dimensional communications company intends to sell its tower division this year and gain up to $90 million, the company said Wednesday. “During 2016, we expect to monetize our urban wireless towers and rooftop locations for approximately $90 million in a sale leaseback transaction. We will redeploy and invest the cash received into our broadband infrastructure in Alaska.” The news was noted in the General Communications fourth quarter and full year 2015 results press release issued Wednesday from Anchorage.

“We also anticipate selling our urban wireless towers in 2016, which will provide us additional capital that we intend to re-invest in the growth of our company,” said Ron Duncan, GCI’s president and chief executive officer. “This sale will support significant investments in a diverse fiber to the North Slope and continued expansion of our TERRA network. These steps demonstrate GCI’s commitment to being the leader in broadband infrastructure in Alaska.” Continue Reading

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Vertical Bridge Gets 200 Towers Taller Thanks to Alpha Media

vertical bridgeVertical Bridge, the largest private owner and manager of wireless communication infrastructure in the U.S., just got even taller in the tower world. The Boca Raton behemoth has purchased more than 100 tower sites and nearly 200 towers as part of the mega acquisition by Alpha Media of Digity, LLC that closed last week. Vertical Bridge adds 64 Alpha Media sites along with 49 former Digity sites to its vast collection, upping its portfolio to more than 42,000 towers, rooftop locations, billboards, utility infrastructure and other site locations that it owns, operates or manages. The company also noted that the deal “significantly” expands its geographic presence in key markets across the United States. Continue Reading

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nashville Tower Climber Climbs Down After Shaky Moment

 A small crowd gathered around a Nashville, TN tower as emergency workers assisted a maintenance worker who called 911 from the top of the tower early Tuesday morning, March 1. The tower is located in a shopping area south of Nashville, and Nashville Fire Department trucks were easily spotted by shoppers and other passersby as they arrived. The worker was there to perform routine maintenance on the tower.
Continue Reading

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Plenty of Carrier Space Left on Ridgefield, CT Tower

What if they built a tower and no one came? Well, that’s not exactly the case with Danbury, CT-based Homeland Towers’ two-month-old tower in Ridgebury, but close. AT&T is on the tower,  the area’s tallest of eight towers, and it is filling in with full-signal an area popularly known as a blackout zone, while the tower owner waits for T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon to climb aboard.
Continue Reading