Blairsville, GA – Spokeswoman from Verizon Wireless presented a plan to bring small cell towers into the city to improve the area’s network coverage.
Traffic engineers from Verizon noticed the need for increased network capacity within the community. “The exponential growth or hockey stick growth is putting a lot of demand on the [current] cell towers and [Verizon] would like to pull another tool from their tool kit with small cell towers,” said Eleanor Callaghan, a Verizon engineer.
Callaghan proposed partnering with the city to add small cell towers to existing structures, such as light poles and traffic signs. By installing these towers, Blairsville will have faster wireless service on the 4G network. Also, Verizon will install the towers at no cost and won’t build new large towers unless absolutely necessary.
The minimum height requirement for a pole needs to be 26 feet with a maximum height of 50 feet. The set height requirements serve to keep wireless emissions lower than the general population of the area. The radios are about the size of an answering machine, and the antenna transmits at a low frequency. Verizon operates below the FCC emissions standards.
The small cell towers do not affect other services in the area and would take at least a year to be fully installed.
“Small cells in existing infrastructure would give [Blairsville] faster upload and download speeds, and give you the extra capacity for all connected devices for merchants running transactions and online ordering,” stated Callaghan.
55 percent of homes are wireless only, and the enhanced connectivity allows for faster triangulation of people’s location. The closer signals can improve response times for first responders and create an efficient method for gathering information.
The small cell towers also cut down on search times when people look for entertainment or restaurants on their phones. Also, the towers could bring services like Uber and Lyft to the area since it’s easier to locate people who want to use the service.
Mayor Jim Conley asked, “Do you have a model ordinance that other cities use?”
Callaghan stated that ordinances are not necessary due to the comprehensive nature of the FCC Small Cell Law, but provided the Sandy Springs ordinance and permit process for the city council to review. “We may have to do an ordinance because of our charter,” said Mayor Conley.
Councilman Buddy Moore asked for more information about the need of the towers to review before making a decision.
“I see how this can help us, but I don’t feel like we can give you answer tonight without reviewing the ordinance to see what other folks have put into it because this is all new to us. Mrs. Callaghan if you want to send that ordinance to us again, and we can arrange to have you come back once we review this ordinance,” said Mayor Conley.