Friday, April 29, 2016

Pilot Program In Douglas County, GA to Tax Audit Towers, Equipment

It’s a countywide trial program that could expand to 58 towers in Douglas County, a west-central region of the state about 26 miles west of Atlanta. County Board of Commissioners voted for a first phase of audits of a randomly selected group of 10 towers. Appraisal firm Consulting/Real Estate Development will be paid $22,500 to verify what equipment is in use which affects the amount of taxes owed by the tower owner, the West Georgia Neighbor reported.

“We want to make sure all equipment is accounted for, itemized, categorized and valued. If one account is properly reporting, then they are paying fully what they need to,” Chief Appraiser Benny Waldrop said. “If a neighboring cell tower is not properly reporting, then it is considered out of uniformity.” Continue Reading

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Superstorm Sandy Bears Positive Fruit: The Wireless Network Resiliency Co-op

A handful of national carriers yesterday (April 27) teamed with Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and CTIA, to create the “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” to share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies.

The deal was inspired by Superstorm Sandy, which in the fall of 2012 slammed into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastlines, causing a major breakdown of telecommunications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television and Internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns. Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Wireless Infrastructure Show Sets All-Star Cast For Dallas

The PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association show at the Hilton Anatole, May 23-26, has assembled a cast of keynoters from the industry movers and shakers list that includes HBO Chief Digital Officer/EVP, Technology Diane Tryneski, AT&T SVP of Global Supply Chain Susan Johnson, and T-Mobile SVP-Technology Strategy, Finance & Development Dave Mayo. Also joining the lineup are MasTec CEO Jose Mas and IBM Fellow and VP of Emerging Technologies Rod Smith. They’ll be talking to an audience of more than 3,000 leaders and innovators from across the wireless infrastructure ecosystem — owners and operators, carriers, investors, government officials, equipment manufacturers and service providers, and others integrally involved in shaping the future of the wireless industry. Continue Reading

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

San Marcos, CA City Council Demands More From Crown Castle

Crown Castle has a lot of work to do before making the city and residents of San Marcos, CA, happy. The city council voted 4-1 earlier this month, allowing Crown Castle to continue operations on a tower for 10 more years, with conditions.
The existing tower is a faux tree that residents living in the Questhaven section of San Marcos said is in need of repairs and more aesthetically pleasing greenery. The Coast News Group reported the council’s approval upped the number of shielding trees to be planted from seven to nine. Crown Castle also must conduct an annual radio frequency analysis and city staff must annually inspect the site to make sure it’s up to code. Continue Reading

Monday, April 25, 2016

NATE Commends the U.S. Senate on Passage of FAA Reauthorization Legislation

The National Association of Tower Erectors on Friday commended the U.S. Senate for enhancing education and safety in the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as part of legislation reauthorizing the FAA.
“NATE would like to thank Senators Thune, Ayotte, Nelson, and Cantwell and their colleagues in the United States Senate for passing this important FAA reauthorization legislation,” said Executive Director Todd Schlekeway. “The Association is extremely interested in the commercial application of Unmanned Aerial Systems technology. UAS can complement and enhance the safety and well-being of communication tower workers by minimizing the risks associated with climber fatigue, weather, and distractions, while reducing repetitive stress injuries. Moreover, they can cut costs and promote efficiency, while assisting with tower inspections and surveys,” added Schlekeway. Continue Reading

Friday, April 22, 2016

Inaugural Wireless West Goes Wild!

More than 500 wireless professionals from all corners of the industry, including carriers and infrastructure met this week in Anaheim, CA for the inaugural two-day Wireless West conference. The primary goal is to educate the wireless community and provide a forum where industry professionals can join together for shared learning and networking. The ambitious first effort appeared to be a homerun, attracting not only the expected guests from the West Coast but also “from New York, Florida, all over the Midwest,” said Kari Willis, who with Patti Ringo, started putting the event together 10 months ago. Continue Reading

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Broadcasters’ Good News Is Good News For Tower Industry

 More than 103,000 broadcasters and their associates converged this week in the desert playpen known as Las Vegas for the annual NAB Show and there is reason to rejoice: the FCC will cover TV repacking-related expenses when a station has to move to a new channel in the repack.
“We interpret the statute to cover pre-auction expenses that otherwise are eligible for reimbursement,” the FCC said Monday in its Declaratory Ruling that was intended “to remove uncertainty regarding the eligibility of expenses incurred before and during the auction for reimbursement.”
Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Vermont Lawmakers Asking For $116 Million Telecom Project Audit

Telecom company VTel Wireless was awarded an $81.7 million grant and a $35.2 million loan in 2010 for a fiber-optic cable project for households and institutions in the Springfield, VT, area, dubbed “World of Wireless.” Additionally, the money was to go toward building 119 towers and antennas for a system of wireless broadband in rural areas in the state. When applying for funding, VTel also promised to invest millions of its own money toward the project, which was to be completed in the summer of 2013 after an extension. Continue Reading

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Federal Judge Rejects Nextel’s Motion to Build 130’ Tower Outside Pittsburgh

A Federal judge in Pennsylvania has rejected Nextel Communications’ lawsuit to build a 130-foot tower in Ross Township, PA. At the time the judge granted the Ross Township Zoning Board’s motion to uphold its decision to reject the company’s application for a special use exception permit to build the tower
According to court records obtained by, the decision to reject Nextel/Sprint’s motion came after a protracted battle and lawsuit filed in 2014 by the company to overturn the board’s decision to reject the company’s special exception permit to build the tower. Nextel needs the permit before it can build the tower in Ross Township, a suburb six miles north of Pittsburgh. Continue Reading

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wanted: Builder To Erect 10 Towers in Louisa County, VA This Summer

Officials in Virginia’s Louisa County have agreed to construct 10 new towers as part of an effort to expand broadband Internet service. On April 8, the Louisa County Broadband Authority requested proposals from consultants willing to manage the project. The chosen consultant will oversee tower development and negotiate with Internet providers.
Bob Hardy, Louisa County information technology director, told the Central Virginian, “There are some firms that have done this for a number of communities. We felt this was the best way to get a company with multiple skill sets.” Continue Reading

Friday, April 15, 2016

FirstNet’s Wheels Are Rolling — Fast

FirstNet President TJ Kennedy opened Thursday’s session at the 2016 CCA Mobile Carriers Show with a fact-filled update, delivered with the energy and gusto of a first responder, a position he held in a variety of ways previously, including as a state trooper and a flight paramedic. He said the national safety network would be “a three-year build out. We know public safety needs this immediately. It is a very aggressive schedule; there are a lot of things on our roadmap. Over the next two years we will be even much quicker than some people want us to move. In the past year people have asked ‘can you go quicker.’ Now we are on the other side of the house where people are saying ‘you are moving very quickly but we are just catching up with you.’”  Continue Reading

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Keeping Up With Demand, Changes Are Wireless World’s Biggest Challenges, Say Tech Titans

A handful of technology titans from the wireless industry converged midday yesterday for an hour-long discussion on the most critical obstacles in their companies’ network deployment plans. Stephen Bye, CTO, C Spire; Jay Bluhm, VP, Network Planning, Sprint; Ken Borner, VP of Engineering and Network Operations, Atlantic Tele-Network; Narothum Saxena, ‎VP – Advanced Technology & Systems Planning  U.S. Cellular; and Henry Hayter, Senior Director, Network and Mobility, TNS, focused on the value of leveraging their networks and provided insight on how the networks will connect and interconnect in the fast-changing and faster-evolving worlds of 4G and 5G. And they discussed how carriers are integrating the latest versions of LTE-U, LAA and WiFi technologies. Sue Marek of SDxCentral, skillfully served as moderator during the opening keynote session at the CCA’s Mobile Carriers Show in Nashville, TN.  Continue Reading

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

WMAL Towers Site Gets Closer to Becoming Toll Brothers’ Million Dollar Homes

cumulusCumulus Media’s deal to sell the 75-acre parcel in Bethesda, MD that is home to its four towers broadcasting a butterfly pattern blanketing the nation’s capital with conservative talk WMAL-AM (630), inched closer to its end game with a required public meeting last Saturday.  About 150 neighbors to the site packed a school auditorium to pelt homebuilder Toll Brothers with the usual questions on how a new settlement of 328 homes would change their lives. Traffic, in a city rated as the worst traffic jam in the nation, is of course their biggest concern. Continue Reading

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wireless World Dwarfs Cars, Hotels, More Than $282 Billion in U.S. GDP in 2014

In just about four years, the American-created wireless world has joined the ranks of the U.S. automobile industry, the motion picture industry, computer and chip industry – and in some cases – several of these industries rolled up together – as a leading force in the U.S. economy. According to a report released yesterday by CTIA, America’s wireless industry “serves as an integral driver of America’s economy by annually generating more than $194.8 billion of domestic economic value and more than $282.1 billion in U.S. GDP.”  The report, an update by Recon Analytics that the same group performed in 2012 and now called “The Wireless Industry: Revisiting Spectrum, The Essential Engine of U.S. Economic Growth,” looks at how the industry grew between 2011 and 2014, and how licensed spectrum is the foundation to leading the world with the best products and services. Continue Reading

Monday, April 11, 2016

Crown Castle Pays $461M For Tower Development Corp.

The Houston tower giant has paid Berkshire Partners $461 million cash for the 336 towers it owns and operates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Crown Castle said Friday the towers have an average tenancy of about two carriers per tower.
The acquisition of Tower Development Corp. should add $25 million to $27 million to Crown Castle’s site rental gross margin in the first full year of ownership and be immediately accretive to Adjusted Funds from... Continue Reading

Thursday, April 7, 2016

India Gives American Tower’s $880M Viom Deal Green Light, AMT Vows $2B Investment

Government officials in India yesterday approved American Tower Corp.’s $880 million investment in Viom Networks, Ltd. The deal, struck last fall, gives American Tower 51 percent of Viom and the controlling stake through its Singapore subsidiary ATC Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
According to reports from Dow Jones News Service and Reuters, India’s Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad made the announcement after meeting with AMT CEO Jim Taiclet. Continue Reading

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cops Need Warrant to Use Faux Tower Devices, Rules Maryland Appeals Court

It’s bad news for police and potentially good news for an estimated 200 people being held in the “Free State’s” prison system based on evidence police gathered with the help of a powerful cell phone tracking tool – the Stingray — that a state court has now ruled was used illegally, according to USA Today. On March 30, a three-judge panel on Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals wrote “Cell phone users have an objectively reasonable expectation that their cell phones will not be used as real-time tracking devices, through the direct and active interference of law enforcement.”
Continue Reading

Friday, April 1, 2016

TR-14 Standard Committee Remembers Ernie Jones

standard committee 
The Telecommunications Industry Association’s Steel Antenna tower engineering committee met this week in Las Vegas to focus on revising and updating the TR-14 standard. The Engineering Committee TR-14 is responsible for the ANSI/EIA/TIA-222, Structural Steel Standards for Steel Antenna Towers and Supporting Structures standard. During a quorum meeting on Wednesday, the committee dedicated the TIA-322 standard (to be released before the end of 2016) to Ernest “Ernie” R. Jones, P.E. Jones, a highly-respected icon of the tower industry, died in a tower accident in Oklahoma in October, 2015. Continue Reading