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Birds on Blue: A Public Art Cell Site

I am a sucker for the marriage of cell sites and public art, as brought to life in “Birds on Blue” in San Diego.

Birds on Blue: A public art cell site in San Diego.

Birds on Blue: A public art cell site in San Diego.

This cell site, the product of a collaboration of artists Ron Pekar and Sandy McDaniel, was brought to life by Esteban DuPont’s CellTech Wireless. The site was funded by Crown Castle, and permitted by the City of San Diego.

3D birds soar in Birds on Blue

Birds on Blue uses a total of 75 three-dimensional bird sculptures to bring this site to life.

Located at CA905 and Beyer Blvd in San Diego, I was honored to play a very small role in making this site come to life.

Here’s a link to a local NBC story on the creation of Birds on Blue: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Birds-on-Blue-Art-Piece-First-to-Conceal-Cell-Phone-Tower-in-South-Bay-399074271.html

What will Ron, Sandy, and Esteban bring to life at the next public art cell site?

To sell all 27 photos I took of this site on February 18, 2017, visit http://celltowerphotos.com/thumbnails.php?album=50.

Jonathan

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California SB649: The Next Wireless Industry Bill

Yesterday, the expected (first?) wireless industry Bill, SB649 was dropped into the California Senate hopper on Friday, February 17, 2017.  This Bill appears to be a small change to existing law to define small cells and include them in existing state law provisions.  Of course, it would come as no surprise to find the Bill amended late in the process to add far more concerning provisions.

I encourage the California wireless industry to reach out to the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties, as well as SCAN NATOA, to discuss these proposed changes, and any still planned to be amended in.

The changes to existing law are shown in BOLD BLUE.


Introduced by Senator Hueso
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Quirk)
(Coauthor: Senator Dodd)

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 649, as introduced, Hueso. Wireless telecommunications facilities.
Under existing law, a wireless telecommunications collocation facility, as specified, is subject to a city or county discretionary permit and is required to comply with specified criteria, but a collocation facility, which is the placement or installation of wireless facilities, including antennas and related equipment, on or immediately adjacent to that wireless telecommunications collocation facility, is a permitted use not subject to a city or county discretionary permit. Existing law defines various terms for these purposes.
This bill would define the term “small cell” as a particular type of telecommunications facility for these purposes.
Under existing law, a city or county, as a condition of approval of an application for a permit for construction or reconstruction of a development project for a wireless telecommunications facility, may not require an escrow deposit for removal of a wireless telecommunications facility or any component thereof, unreasonably limit the duration of any permit for a wireless telecommunications facility, or require that all wireless telecommunications facilities be limited to sites owned by particular parties within the jurisdiction of the city or county, as specified.
This bill would apply these prohibitions to the approval of small cell facilities as defined by this bill.

Digest Key

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

 

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares that, to ensure that communities across the state have access to the most advanced wireless communications technologies and the transformative solutions that robust wireless connectivity enables, such as Smart Communities and the Internet of Things, California should work in coordination with federal, state, and local officials to create a statewide framework for the deployment of advanced wireless communications infrastructure in California that does all of the following:

(a) Reaffirms local governments’ historic role and authority with respect to wireless communications infrastructure siting and construction generally.

(b) Reaffirms that deployment of telecommunications facilities in the rights-of-way is a matter of statewide concern, subject to a statewide franchise, and that expeditious deployment of telecommunications networks generally is a matter of both statewide and national concern.

(c) Recognizes that the impact on local interests from individual small wireless facilities will be sufficiently minor and that such deployments should be a permitted use statewide and should not be subject to discretionary zoning review.

(d) Requires expiring permits for these facilities to be renewed so long as the site maintains compliance with use conditions adopted at the time the site was originally approved.

(e) Requires providers to obtain all applicable building or encroachment permits and comply with all related health, safety, and objective aesthetic requirements for small wireless facility deployments on a ministerial basis.

(f) Grants providers fair, reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and nonexclusive access to locally owned utility poles, street lights, and other suitable host infrastructure located within the public right-of-way and in other local public places such as stadiums, parks, campuses, hospitals, transit stations, and public buildings consistent with all applicable health and safety requirements, including Public Utilities Commission General Order 95.

(g) Provides for full recovery by local governments of the costs of attaching small wireless facilities to utility poles, street lights, and other suitable host infrastructure in a manner that is consistent with existing federal and state laws governing utility pole attachments generally.

(h) Permits local governments to charge wireless permit fees that are fair, reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and cost based.

(i) Advances technological and competitive neutrality while not adding new requirements on competing providers that do not exist today.

SEC. 2. Section 65850.6 of the Government Code is amended to read:

65850.6. (a) A collocation facility shall be a permitted use not subject to a city or county discretionary permit if it satisfies the following requirements:

(1) The collocation facility is consistent with requirements for the wireless telecommunications collocation facility pursuant to subdivision (b) on which the collocation facility is proposed.

(2) The wireless telecommunications collocation facility on which the collocation facility is proposed was subject to a discretionary permit by the city or county and an environmental impact report was certified, or a negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration was adopted for the wireless telecommunications collocation facility in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code), the requirements of Section 21166 do not apply, and the collocation facility incorporates required mitigation measures specified in that environmental impact report, negative declaration, or mitigated negative declaration.

(b) A wireless telecommunications collocation facility, where a subsequent collocation facility is a permitted use not subject to a city or county discretionary permit pursuant to subdivision (a), shall be subject to a city or county discretionary permit issued on or after January 1, 2007, and shall comply with all of the following:

(1) City or county requirements for a wireless telecommunications collocation facility that specifies types of wireless telecommunications facilities that are allowed to include a collocation facility, or types of wireless telecommunications facilities that are allowed to include certain types of collocation facilities; height, location, bulk, and size of the wireless telecommunications collocation facility; percentage of the wireless telecommunications collocation facility that may be occupied by collocation facilities; and aesthetic or design requirements for the wireless telecommunications collocation facility.

(2) City or county requirements for a proposed collocation facility, including any types of collocation facilities that may be allowed on a wireless telecommunications collocation facility; height, location, bulk, and size of allowed collocation facilities; and aesthetic or design requirements for a collocation facility.

(3) State and local requirements, including the general plan, any applicable community plan or specific plan, and zoning ordinance.

(4) The California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) through certification of an environmental impact report, or adoption of a negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration.

(c) The city or county shall hold at least one public hearing on the discretionary permit required pursuant to subdivision (b) and notice shall be given pursuant to Section 65091, unless otherwise required by this division.

(d) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Collocation facility” means the placement or installation of wireless facilities, including antennas, and related equipment, on, or immediately adjacent to, a wireless telecommunications collocation facility.

(2) “Small cell” means a wireless telecommunications facility within the volume limits established by the Federal Communications Commission for small wireless antennas and associated equipment in the First Amendment to Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (47 C.F.R. Part 1 Appendix B).

(3) “Wireless telecommunications facility” means equipment and network components such as towers, utility poles, transmitters, base stations, and emergency power systems that are integral to providing wireless telecommunications services.

(4) “Wireless telecommunications collocation facility” means a wireless telecommunications facility that includes collocation facilities.

(e)  The Legislature finds and declares that both small cell and collocation facilities, as defined in this section, have a significant economic impact in California and are not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is are a matter of statewide concern.

(f) With respect to the consideration of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions, the review by the city or county shall be limited to that authorized by Section 332(c)(7) of Title 47 of the United States Code, or as that section may be hereafter amended.

SEC. 3. Section 65964 of the Government Code is amended to read:

65964. As a condition of approval of an application for a permit for construction or reconstruction for a development project for a wireless telecommunications facility or small cell, as defined in Section 65850.6, a city or county shall not do any of the following:

(a) Require an escrow deposit for removal of a wireless telecommunications facility or any component thereof. However, a performance bond or other surety or another form of security may be required, so long as the amount of the bond security is rationally related to the cost of removal. In establishing the amount of the security, the city or county shall take into consideration information provided by the permit applicant regarding the cost of removal.

(b) Unreasonably limit the duration of any permit for a wireless telecommunications facility. Limits of less than 10 years are presumed to be unreasonable absent public safety reasons or substantial land use reasons. However, cities and counties may establish a build-out period for a site.

(c) Require that all wireless telecommunications facilities be limited to sites owned by particular parties within the jurisdiction of the city or county.

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WirelessEstimator.com on Mobilitie

WirelessEstimator.com picked up on my post from yesterday about how the Mobilitie hides the ball regarding its proposed pole heights.  In fact, they illustrated their illuminating article with a great graphic:

Sweet!

Go read their interesting and informative article, which expands on my comments, by clicking here.

jlk

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How a Key Mobilitie Graphic Spins a Not-so-Tall Tale

This post is part of my contribution to the ongoing public policy debate and discussions regarding the current Mobilitie build for Sprint.  Mobilitie has developed the illustration shown in Figure 1, below, apparently as a way to show local governments and the public Mobilitie’s various pole configurations in at least block form.  Most recently, a week ago, Mobilitie presented this very illustration to a group of local government telecom officials in Southern California at the SCAN NATOA meeting. I attended that meeting.

Take a close look at Figure 1 and then please continue to read on.Mobilitie's unscaled graphic misrepresents the relative heights of their various poles.Figure 1.  Illustration created by Mobilitie. This illustration is presumably copyright by Mobilitie.  Used here under the Fair Use Doctrine.

The problem with Mobilitie’s illustration in Figure 1 is that it grossly misrepresents and under-represents the scale and impact of their proposed facilities.  Mobilitie’s illustration has no indicated scale, and the pole elements are not scaled to each other.  Mobilitie’s illustration is, in my opinion, deceptive and misleading.

I have taken Mobilitie’s illustration and through the magic of Photoshop scaled the poles to each other.  I started with the reasonable assumption that the light standard and equipment/antenna configuration topped out at about 34 feet above ground level. In Figure 2, below, that’s the pole on the left.  Then, knowing that Mobilitie has been promoting 75 foot tall wood utility poles in various communities around the country, I scaled the middle pole in Figure 2 to be approximately 75 feet above ground level.  Finally, I scaled the transmission pole on the right hand side of the illustration to be about 120 feet tall, which is the height that Mobilitie promotes around the country for theses tallest poles.  Here is Figure 2:

Mobilitie's graphic scales to show the relative heights of their various poles.Figure 2.  Illustration created by Mobilitie, which has been annotated and scaled by Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer. This illustration is a derivative of an illustration presumably copyright by Mobilitie.  Created and used here under the Fair Use Doctrine.

As you can see from Figure 2, which is now scaled against the street light pole, the height impacts of the utility and transmission poles are substantially greater than one would expect simply relying on Mobilitie’s illustration.   Also, it is my opinion, based on Mobilitie plans I have seen and reports I have reviewed that the widths of all three poles is misrepresented in Mobilitie’s illustrations.  I have not tried to account for those width errors in this analysis, and leave that task for the reader.

Finally, in Figure 3 below, I have prepared an animated graphic that will help to better frame Mobilitie’s illustration against the reality of Mobilitie’s plans.  You may want to download this to better see it on your screen.

Animated graphic showing Mobilitie's unscaled illustration of its pole configurations and a vertically-scaled graphic.Figure 3. Illustration created by Mobilitie, which has been annotated, scaled, and animated by Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer. This illustration is a derivative of an illustration presumably copyright by Mobilitie.  Created and used here under the Fair Use Doctrine.

What is the point of all of this? In my mind, the key point is that local governments and their constituents have a fair right to demand a reasonable level of accuracy when asked to consider projects that will impact their communities.  I believe that Mobilitie’s graphic in Figure 1, regardless whatever their intent in presenting it, ends up being quite deceptive by its lack of internal and external scales both for height and width.

If you would like to download Mobilitie’s entire PowerPoint presented last week, click here.

Finally, given the national importance of the ongoing public discussion regarding Mobilitie’s nationwide project for Sprint (and maybe others in the future), I encourage you to share this posting.

Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer

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FCC to form Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

Press release from the FCC Chairman on 1/31/2017 regarding a new Advisory Committee:

STATEMENT OF
CHAIRMAN AJIT PAI

Re:         Formation of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC)

Last September, I proposed what I called a Digital Empowerment Agenda—a blueprint of policies that would accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, or broadband, in communities across the country.

Today, I am excited to announce the formation of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), which will aim to provide advice and recommendations to the FCC on how to do just that.  The BDAC’s mission will be to identify regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and to make recommendations to the Commission on reducing and/or removing them.

One of the first things the BDAC will be asked to do is draft for the Commission’s consideration a model code for broadband deployment.  This model code will cover topics like local franchising, zoning, permitting, and rights-of-way regulations.  Building, upgrading, and deploying broadband networks isn’t easy, and red tape often can make the task harder than it needs to be.  Similarly, many localities that have a strong interest in promoting a digital economy within their borders may not have the resources or expertise to develop and implement deployment-friendly policies.  Consumers ultimately pay the price in terms of less access to next-generation services.  Our hope is that with a model code approved by the FCC, one that any city could use as a template, the case for broadband deployment would be much easier, especially for communities that seek to proactively encourage it.

We’ve already filed the necessary paperwork to stand up the BDAC, with plans to convene its first meeting this spring.  Two dedicated members of the FCC staff, Brian Hurley and Paul D’Ari, have agreed to be the Committee’s Designated Federal Officer and Deputy Designated Federal Officer respectively, and I’d like to thank them for their commitment to these efforts.  But we also need your help.  The Commission will be releasing a Public Notice with more details about the Committee’s work and an explanation of the member-selection process.  I encourage interested members of the public to apply and to be ready to share your best ideas in order to help bring digital opportunity to all Americans.

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Verizon Buying Comcast? Good idea, sort of.

Rumors are circulating that Verizon is considering buying Comcast. Largely ignoring the horrible public policy and anti-competitive issues, the deal would make sense from various technology standpoints.

Consider:

Comcast runs one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the U.S. Verizon needs Wi-Fi as a critical element of offloading traffic from its cellular/PCS/AWS networks. Cellular nodes, . . . → Read More: Verizon Buying Comcast? Good idea, sort of.

LPTV/Translators/NAB v. FCC/Microsoft/Google

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle features an interesting story about the tension between LPTV broadcasters and TV translator operators verus an FCC push to clear some TV channels for a new national WiFi-type of service. On one side are the NAB, LPTV braocasters, and TV translators. On the other side are an odd alliance of Microsoft . . . → Read More: LPTV/Translators/NAB v. FCC/Microsoft/Google

Congratulations to CALWA, the California Wireless Association on 10 Years

The California Wireless Association (CALWA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I am delighted.

As a ‘government guy’ you might ask why I care about the state’s wireless industry association. Well, as it happens, I was one of its very first members, believing then, and now, that bridges are better than gulfs. CALWA reached out . . . → Read More: Congratulations to CALWA, the California Wireless Association on 10 Years

Indoor iDAS and Wireless Site Permitting…Ducks are Ducks.

Do in-building distributed antenna systems (commonly called “iDAS”) fall in to the scope of a local government’s wireless regulatory process? As is often the case, the short answer is, ‘it depends.’

Depends? On what?!

Here are some things to consider:

Does the local government wireless regulation exclude wireless facilities build solely within a building? If . . . → Read More: Indoor iDAS and Wireless Site Permitting…Ducks are Ducks.

Mobilitie’s “Walrus” Design

Mobilitie is deploying a variation of what I call its Pox-on-a-Pole™ design in the Los Angeles market. I call this new variation the Walrus™ design. Here’s a new Walrus recently installed in West Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard west of Barrington Avenue:

A Mobilitie “Walrus” design, a variation of the “Pox-on-a-Pole” design.

The . . . → Read More: Mobilitie’s “Walrus” Design

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