Thursday, January 31, 2019

Polar Vortex Puts a Chill on Tower Work

The challenges of working in wintery conditions are welI-documented and usually well-handled by extra layers, a heated truck and a good thermos. But often the best decision is no climb at all until the conditions subside.  The sub-zero freezing temperatures brought on by the latest winter blast often means the latter and has virtually halted tower work across the Upper Plains and Upper Midwest.
The cold temps can create frost on all structures hindering a safe climb for a technician, according to Barbara Houdek, CEO of Trillium Tower Development.

“Frosty towers have been problematic this year,” Houdek said. “Our policy is if the temps are around -10 or -15 with no wind chill, a 2-hour service call can be completed on a tower….such as changing a radio head on a sector or providing a re-lamp on a tower.  Winds dictate our capabilities out in the field. Which is usually the case, so basically -10 to -15 is the limit to our willingness to work on site,” she said.

Houdek said Trillium allows several warm up breaks throughout the day. Each tech has arctic coats, bibs, arctic boots, gloves and other pertinent cold weather gear such as facemasks. A climber does have to avoid wearing to much clothing as sweating could cause more problems with the cold temps. 
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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It’s First Responders vs. Bird Lovers in Washington Wetlands

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners in Washington, approved a Verizon application for an 150-foot monopole near Lake Lawrence, WA. An opposing neighborhood group called Citizens Against 5G Cell Towers filed a motion to appeal the decision on January 17, 2019, Nisqually Valley News reported. 

Citizens Against 5G Cell Towers was formed from members of the now retired Deschutes Neighborhood Group, which previously appealed the Thurston County Hearing Examiner’s decision to move forward with the tower in 2016. Both neighborhood groups share the same goal, to protect the wildlife around the tower site by halting construction on it.

 In their appeal, President of Citizens Against 5G, David Runnels, wrote the tower would have a harmful environmental impact on the area, and that the hearing examiner omitted 494 pages of public comment. Continue Reading

Monday, January 28, 2019

Shutdown Ends, FCC to Re-Open Today

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders on Friday reached a short-term deal to reopen the government for three weeks, until February 15, while negotiations continue over how much money should be allocated for border security, and the president’s demands for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. The decision means the FCC can resume normal operations today, after spending the first few hours unwinding the shutdown procedures. No details have been issued regarding when normal electronic filing procedures may resume. See the FCC news releases for the latest information.
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Crown Castle Announces Q4 Earnings for 2018, Citing “Solid” Results

Crown Castle, Int’l (CCI) announced its quarterly earning for the fourth quarter of 2018 late yesterday afternoon. The company will hold a conference call for analysts later this morning at 10:30 a.m. EST.  The conference call may be accessed by dialing 888-204-4368 and asking for the Crown Castle call (access code 3601569) at least 30 minutes prior to the start time. 

It may also be accessed live over the internet at
“We closed out another year of growth with solid results in the fourth quarter and increased our Outlook for 2019, demonstrating the strong fundamentals across our business,” stated Crown Castle CEO Jay Brown. “We are excited about the opportunity we see to leverage the unmatched portfolio of more than 40,000 towers and 65,000 route miles of dense, high capacity fiber that we have built and acquired over the past two decades in the top U.S. markets where we see the greatest long-term demand.  We continue to believe our ability to offer towers, small cells and fiber solutions, which are all integral components of communications networks and are shared among multiple tenants, provides us the best opportunity to generate significant growth while delivering high returns for our shareholders. Further, we believe that the U.S. is the best market for communications infrastructure ownership, and we are pursuing that compelling opportunity with our comprehensive offering. With the positive momentum we continue to see in our towers and fiber segments, we remain focused on investing in our business to generate future growth and delivering dividend per share growth of seven percent to eight percent per year.”  

Highlights from the quarter according to Crown are:
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Governor Who Proposed E-911 Bill Requests a Hold

A bill proposed by Governor Jim Justice that would carve out a portion of the wireless E-911 fee for other emergency communications projects is on hold after county officials and lawmakers objected. The bill was introduced after the FCC criticized the state in December 2018 for diverting portions of the $3-per-month wireless E-911 fee for state agencies.

Justice requested Senate Bill 289 be pulled from consideration by the Senate Government Organization Committee.

 “After extensive meetings and listening it became very clear that my intent for Senate Bill 289 was not being properly communicated,” Justice said in a press release. “I have never wanted a dime taken away from our 911 centers or our counties.” 

The bill would create a new 34-cent “public safety wireless fee” on the monthly bill of cell phone subscribers, while reducing the $3-per-month wireless (enhanced) 911 fee to $2.66 per month, reported the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Continue Reading

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

FCC Resumes Taking Equipment Authorization Requests

UPDATE The FCC reactivated its Equipment Authorization System (EAS) Friday. The action could prevent delays in the rollout of 5G devices.

The EAS was closed since January 2, because of the lapse in federal funding. However, the agency said it decided to re-open the system after reviewing its, “statutory authority, the status of contract obligations” and its lapsed funding plan.

Most radio transmitters, including those on cell towers, need to be certified by the FCC to ensure compliance with the Commission’s technical rules. Private sector Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs) review and grant certification applications. The TCBs must enter the application and equipment certification grant into the EAS before the grant becomes effective. The reactivation will enable the TCBs to grant equipment certifications, allowing equipment to be imported and marketed in the United States. While the EAS will be available to the public, no support will be provided by Commission staff.  

The Telecommunications Industry Association had urged the Commission to reopen the system, and cheered the move. Most device approvals will be covered, “which will help eliminate the backlog and ensure that the U.S. can maintain its position of global leadership in the worldwide race to 5G,” said TIA SVP Government Affairs Cinnamon Rogers. “TIA is very grateful to the Commission’s leadership for recognizing the importance of this issue and taking swift action to address it,” she added. Continue Reading