OSHA & FCC Best Tower Climbing Practices

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That’s right, the FCC and OSHA DOL have teamed up to use their superpowers for the good of the tower climber. These are two of the most influential divisions of government on American business, the world really, that worked hard to provide a safety guideline for an industry where people die every year. They knew there were issues that need to be addressed and they acted.

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Did they do it alone? NO! They asked the tower industry, held workshops, and released the RFI  for the tower climbers to fill out, anonymously if needed. You all had a say. If you didn’t participate, then you may not have been in the industry, or you didn’t make the time to participate in this momentous event. That’s right, OSHA reached out to the field workers for help. Hey, if you did nothing, then you probably don’t expect anything.

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I am proud to say that I not only participated, but I went to the workshop at the FCC office in DC. I took a day of my time, drove several hours, completed the survey, I did all that I could to help. What did you do? All the people at the conference were very supportive of the initiative. There were many vendors, company owners, carriers, and groups like NATE and the Hubble Foundation and the Tower Family Foundation. The workshop information can be found here. This happened back in 2014, so it took a lot of time to make it happen. Yes, I was blogging then, and I had been trying to help more climbers back then.

One more thing, I think we should all thank the participants of OSHA and FCC who worked diligently to create this and try to raise awareness of the tangled web of climber’s safety.

I don’t climb anymore. I do more engineering, sales, and planning work. I consult, and I write books, and I teach. I coach. So, I am not currently active in the climbing industry other than I bid work, I am still active and keep in touch with the climbing industry. I knew I had to move on, but I still have a passion for this industry. While it’s not as active as it once was, it’s still a critical part of the communications industry. I only did it for 10 years or so, but I really did enjoy it. I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. I also learned that it was a completely different lifestyle. A job and a lifestyle that takes some adjustment, one where your life could end any day you go up in the air. I worked with some of the best people I ever met and some of the worst people I ever met. It is an amazing industry.

There is one thing that we all agree on is that it’s not as profitable as it used to be.  The carrier specifically made it a commodity. This means that the experienced climbers are leaving the industry by retirement or just looking for new opportunities. It didn’t seem to matter much because there are plenty of new, inexperienced recruits willing to put their lives on the line so that you can use Tinder on your smartphone, isn’t great how far technology has come?

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Therefore, the FCC and OSHA knew they must get involved, they wanted to save lives, and the best way to do that is by prevention. If they fine a company, it’s too late, the person is usually dead. The aim of this is to make the job as safe as it can be so that we prevent death. I hear about the lawsuits and how people get screwed and get hurt, and some people will never recover. I have also seen people try to scam the charities and industry. Like I said, some of the best and some of the worst people. I think it’s sad that people try to cheat charities, but it happens.

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OK, back to the subject at hand, the guidelines. They can be found below:

You can download the best practices document.

First, I want to thank the people at the FCC and OSHA that made this happen. Commissioner Wheeler helped to get the ball rolling, but Commissioner Pai has done a great job of keeping the ball rolling, twitter @AjitPaiFCC if you want to tweet him and tell him what a great job he’s done. Many people participated in the workshop and worked all the way to the end. I know that I was contacted personally by Jessica Douma of OSHA and Michael Janson of the FCC. They really worked hard to see this project all the way to the end. It was no quick or easy process. It takes a team, as I listed below.

Let’s all thank the following:

  • Claire Wack, Attorney Advisor, CIPD, WTB, FCC
  • Jessica Douma, Regulatory Analyst, OSHA
  • Michael Janson, Associate Chief, CIPD, WTB, FCC
  • Erin Patterson, Regulatory Analyst, OSHA
  • Joseph Jenkins, Team Leader, Marketing and Outreach, Office of Apprenticeship, ETA
  • Matthew Warner, Attorney Advisor, CIPD, WTB, FCC

When you read the document, you will see it’s broken down into the following parts.

  • Introduction and Background
    • This is obvious, right?
  • General Topics
    • Here they copy general programs that the FCC and OSHA have for the tower climbing industry.
    • An overview of Safety and health programs and contracting practices.
    • An overview of verification of subcontractors.
  • Tower Climbers and Ground Crew Employees
    • This is on the front line!
    • This goes into how each group or participant in the tower work is responsible for defining and following safe practices. From the climber to the crew, covering contractors and crew member at the site or preparing to go to the site. General safety recommendations.
  • Carriers and Tower Owners
    • This section covers how the tower owners should not only vet the contractors but have reporting procedures in place to report incidents. Have the processes and protocols in place. Manage complaints properly, log them and attend to them.
    • They also cover audits, training, and record keeping. Carriers and tower owners are being asked to participate these practices. This spreads it across the industry. Communication is the key.
    • Carriers are asked to provide realistic timelines for deployments. Think about the resources and set up a timeline that makes sense for that project. (Someone’s life depends on it!)
    • Tower owners are asked to inspect their tower, provide anchor points where needed, and update leases to mandate safe installation procedures that do not impede anchor points. They need to meet standard TIA-222-G, have a way to report unsafe conditions easily, allow drones to do more work, and ask for photos of their tower from the contractors working there. Keep a record of what you get!
  • Turfing Vendors
    • First, my opinion – These guys need to be mentioned here because they throw the most climbers all over the place. AT&T has done a great job using turf vendors then laying all the blame on them. They were the scapegoat that AT&T was being investigated for all the deaths that occurred years Wireless Estimator has a good record of climbing deaths by year here.
    • This covers training, job specific training, vetting contractors, and outlines ow they should work with contractors.
    • They cover communication, reporting, incident investigation. Yes, the turf vendor has a serious responsibility to investigate any incidents or unsafe practices. You need to identify SMEs, (Subject Matter Experts), that can help you do this. When I say SME, I mean someone who really knows what they are doing and they have been doing it for years, not the senior guy on a new crew. We here to save lives people!
    • Communicate openly, provide ways to communicate up and down the chain! Have procedures and processes in place so it’s clear how everyone should work, be trained, and report problems and incidents.
    • Work site safety practice, this should be defined clearly.
  • Tower Construction and Maintenance Contractors
    • Here is the front line, again, only the big dogs, or should I say the big tower dawgs? They started with the front line, and they’re ending with the front line.
    • Auditing and incident investigations are outlined. While most of you may have this in place, it’s always a good idea to update and see what has changed.
    • Outline your work site and safety practices, tailgate meetings, cover safety but don’t become so redundant that it’s blown off. Keep it original and interesting. That takes research and work. Review the JHA, keep it onsite, and update it as needed.
    • Record keeping and communication. Do I need to say more? Records of employee training and certifications so that they are available to all parties involved.
    • Training – again, train all worksite employees, not just the climbers. Right?
  • For additional information, here are some sites that may help:

There you go. The FCC and DOL did the best they could to outline this. Tower worker safety seems to be improving in the industry. It pays to be educated and updated.

If you’re interested in what industry leaders are saying, Wireless Estimator does a great job of putting together the voices of the industry at http://wirelessestimator.com/articles/2017/industry-applauds-osha-fccs-long-awaited-communication-tower-best-practices-guide/.

NATE also had good things to say at https://natehome.com/safety-education/osha-fcc-communication-tower-best-practices/ where they also have praise.

Jeff Williams posted a detailed letter at https://blog.npstc.org/2017/06/02/fcc-osha-offer-tower-safety-guidelines/ which summed it up very well.

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

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The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

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Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

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Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

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An Outline of Smart City Broadband

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What is smart city broadband? It’s just broadband, let’s not make it complicated. If you ask what broadband is, I have to ask you if you live under a rock, seriously. Broadband is everywhere. We expect so much from our connections. If it is a Cable modem, then we expect to have connections in our homes and offices all the time. We rely on Wi-Fi to connect inside the office, and we expect it to be secure.

If we have a smartphone, we want the coverage to go beyond the office to everywhere, literally everywhere we go. We need to have it all the time, even when we hate getting interrupted, we are happy it works.

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This is broadband. In our offices, we have fiber connections that give us solid and fast broadband. The problem for smaller businesses is that they may not have the money or the need for fiber, so they use a cable modem or another ISP that has a more affordable connection.

Then we go down to the smaller businesses who want to be nimble. So, they rely on their smartphone and Wi-Fi. They may or may not have an office, or their office may be their vehicle, or they go from door to door. Yes, people still do that. They teach yoga in the park, or they groom dogs at a home or office for people.

These are all examples of broadband being used for business. So yes, broadband matters to the smart city. It goes beyond the office, that is the point. We need a combination of fiber and cable and wireless. They all play into the bigger picture. Could you imagine living in a city where you don’t have broadband? That’s crazy in today’s world, right?

Now, how do we use that broadband? Who uses that broadband? What will the city get from this mass roll out? What form will it be?

How do we use and roll out broadband?

Let’s break it down, first the obvious question, how do we use the broadband. While the first use case seems obvious, work, play, and all that goes with that. Businesses are going to rely on the fiber and cable modems for the office and servers. They are going to need this to do business. So, remember that the city must facilitate the fiber and cable rollouts. This means that the cities will need to be dug up at some point. This is going to make or break the city. Put policies in place to make the backbone a priority.

This doesn’t mean dig up the street all the time. This means that you need to make sure that the “dig once” policy makes it easy for all the fiber to laid at one time can get out there. Put a system in place where competitors can all go into one dig. Maybe even put in extra conduit to connect to other cross-connects. If you can create a system that avoids the dig by adding a way for the conduits to add fiber, then you have a system in place to allow for quick and easy growth. Plan ahead. Go beyond the dig once policy. If you want to see an older example of this, look at what NYC did here, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/press-releases/2014/infrastructure_report.pdf in their report about underground infrastructure. While this report goes beyond fiber, it explains how you can use underground as a valuable resource for allowing for future expansion.

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While the expansion of broadband will be the expansion of business, you need to have a plan in place to grow beyond what you have now. Infrastructure needs to expand and broadband pipes, like fiber and cable, are a critical part of your infrastructure.

Broadband will be used for video, data analytics, voice communication, wireless connection expansion, and more. However, all you need to look at is that broadband will be used for business and growth and residential. The growth of business and residential means growth for the city! Growth is what broadband will bring to your city! That is how it will be used.

Who uses that broadband?

This is obvious, or is it? Of course, businesses will use it. Small business will need it to compete. Large business will need it. They will use it just to do business.

What about the residents? Of course! They will need it. They use it to maintain a respectable way of life here in North America. They use broadband for more than just email and internet access in the traditional way. They rely on the access to watch TV, entertainment, gaming, and for anything fun!

However, residents also rely on the internet for additional income. This is where the small businesses boom. This is where you get new business from literally nowhere! Yes, because the entrepreneurial spirit is so strong around the world! I can be anywhere and write a book, be a virtual assistant, work remotely! How exciting is this time we live in? I think it’s great and it’s going to change our world, as it has already!

Hey, those are the obvious cases. What about to grow the wireless infrastructure? You need to provide the wireless an infrastructure of fiber. They need to build the wireless system out. So, for mobility, you need a fixed backhaul. Get it? Now you’re enabling wireless to grow! This is a hidden example of how fiber growth will spark other industries.

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What about security? This is a need in any city and broadband will carry video for this purpose. We need to expand the reach across the city for security and analytics. This is a need in the modern city.

Things will be on the internet. Devices will talk to each other without human intervention. Then we have IOT which we look at as wireless, but it still needs a fiber connection at some point to take it back to the NOC to be monitored. Fiber enables this! It helps us reach out and connect all these other systems.

What will the city get from this mass roll out?

The city will get the economy rolling. They will have the business grow. Growth will be more than just the business at the office but the services they can offer. The people they can employ, and the data they could share and analyze.

They will enable the residents to have all the services they want not only at home, but the mobility will be a great experience. The residents will also be able to work anywhere at any time. They can make a difference anywhere with a laptop and smartphone.

Security will be enhanced to the point where if something is about to happen, it may be preventable. That is why we have the high alerts, so we know where and how to look for something. The police and fire departments will have what they need to see what is going on before they get there. Maybe we can avoid the serious mistakes.

Wireless coverage is going to enable freedom on the city so that people can work anywhere, on the move, and attend more city events.

Using IOT will allow new services to be rolled out. We can become more and more efficient than we ever were before.

What is the transport method?

Currently, it’s going to be fiber. We still rely on fiber for almost everything. Then from there wireless. That’s what I see, keeping it simple is that we rely on the fiber backbone. Eventually we will have more wireless which will be very reliable, but for now, we still need fiber all over the city to enable the wireless to happen. We just need to use wireless to expand the fiber connections.

It’s explosive growth. We have already seen it, and now we all expect it to be 100 times past what we have now. We will connect everything we can possibly connect. We can be connected 99% of the time unless we don’t want to be connected.

How will we get it out there? Fiber is where it all starts. That’s right, me, a wireless guy, just told you that fiber is where it all starts. We need to use fiber to build the backbone. While the cable companies have done a good job using cable to get to the homes and small businesses they still use fiber for distribution. We all rely on fiber.

After fiber, we currently rely on cable to get to the smaller businesses. They still have an extensive reach that is very reliable.

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Wireless, specifically LTE, and eventually 5G will shape the future of last mile connectivity. It will become more of a connector due to the ease of connectivity and the accessibility. We will all be looking for that magic pill called Fixed Wireless. We expect Verizon and AT&T to deliver this in 2019, but hopefully sooner.

Who will roll out what?

This is all over the map. We have so many options, so let’s look at who is providing the technology, that may be easier to breakdown.

  • Wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint – they are providing the obvious, LTE and moving into 5G. However, they plan to take it a step further with 5G; this is where they will go beyond the spectrum they have now and move into cmwave and mmwave. These are higher spectrum solutions that will compete with the cable model and ISP for home and business coverage. It will have enough spectrum to push over 100Mbps to a unit somewhere. While the carriers are working on this bandwidth for mobile, the fixed wireless business case will become quite real. This will be considered 5G fixed wireless. It is available today, but not on a mass roll out. Don’t stop The carriers will have great IOT expectations as well. AT&T and Verizon intend to roll out IOT services that will enable devices to communicate with their IOT networks using forms of LTE. While this may be narrowband, I am sure they will have broadband solutions as well depending on the use case.
  • Cable companies like Comcast and Cablevision are already giving you broadband to your homes and small businesses. They are also giving resident Wi-Fi in many urban areas. This is really helping residents see how they can utilize Wi-Fi at remote locations. However, with the rollout of new spectrum solutions, like 600MHz, CBRS, and LTE-U, this will start to advance quickly. Wi-Fi is a great technology that has been around for a long time, but now LTE will roll out everywhere. It will become part of 5G and open new doors for the cable companies to distribute broadband everywhere. They already have a solid infrastructure; now they need to expand to new delivery methods, which they will do. It will be awesome.
  • ISPs and WISPs like CenturyLink will continue to serve, but they need to compete on a new level. I believe they will look at the wireless model as a solution to the home and business. They will provide services to the rural areas; someone will need to. They may be in the smart city, but they will have so much competition that it may not be viable for them unless they partner with someone or hit the 3rd tier cities. They have the know-how, but so they have the budget to build and compete.
  • Fiber providers will be big, like Crown Castle and Zayo, that supply the backhaul to wireless carriers. They will be a key building block who will enable the wireless companies to grow. These companies are working to supply the backhaul for everyone to have wireless connectivity. We will need them to grow. Just because the public doesn’t know much about them is not a reason for us to ignore them. They are players. They are enablers.
  • Car companies will enable broadband because the self-driving car will take over. While the self-driving car will need to be always connected, this may or may not be broadband, but inside the vehicle, people will want broadband. They will want to have Wi-Fi or LTE-U inside the vehicle while they wait to get to their destination. Yes, car companies already know this, and they are coming up with ways to make this happen. When I say car companies, I don’t just mean Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, and all the others. I mean Uber and Lyft because they are the ones that are pushing the limits. They are the ones who are really helping to get the self-driving car out there. Companies like Tesla are game changers because they have a car that is connected and feeding back data real time. Tesla uses that data to improve their vehicle, the driving experience, and improve efficiencies. Amazing new companies that I consider car companies. It will be life changing!

What technologies are available?

Here is where we can look at all the technologies that are out there. I am going to cover the wireless. I think we beat the fiber and cable horses to death! We get it, OK, fiber is needed everywhere.

Wireless we have the most obvious, Wi-Fi. It’s cheap and easy to deploy. However, it’s already rolled out and many looks at it as a free service for the most part. Seriously, I go to Starbucks and expect to get the W-Fi for free.

We will have LTE-U coming out which is in the Wi-Fi spectrum, free spectrum, that will allow LTE to be everywhere and should work with your smartphone much better. It’s new which means it will take time to roll out. I do expect to see it in 2018, and I know that the larger carriers are very excited to see it. They will use it heavily.

We have the licensed bands. Like 1900MHZ, 2.5GHz, and other bands. These all use LTE. It could be FDD or TDD, which I explain in my other books about 5G and LTE Deployment. Here you just need to know that the carriers own it. They may lease some of it, but they don’t give it away, and they won’t share those bands. They paid a lot of money for them. Even the cmwave and the mmwave that they purchased. So, they own this, and they will deploy this, and the device makers will need to add it to their devices so that we can use it.

Finally, we have the CBRS here in the states. This is a 3.5GHz band that we want to use. This should be open to the carriers but also to the enterprise, small business, and even to you and me if we want to purchase the equipment and lightly license it. Yes, the lightly license model is happening here in the USA. I can’t wait because it should open new opportunities. We can use CBRS spectrum inside buildings for private and secure networks. It will be a great way to build out the micro-networks that we all dreamt doing. Something that no one could sniff it out and try to hack it. Now it’s licensed which will make it harder for someone to hack into it without being in the licensed band. It just doesn’t happen much on the carrier’s network because it’s hard to do. This will let the Enterprise and small business owner build a network on a licensed band then allow a carrier to roam onto it.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

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Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

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Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

www.techfecta.com

 

How do you get Broadband to the “Underserved”?

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Broadband is needed everywhere, so much so that even the federal government sees broadband as a utility that is needed by all people. How do you get broadband to the underserved areas?

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In the suburban and country, (remote areas), it is simply a matter of budgets. However, CenturyLink is a company I see serving those areas. They are doing the best they can get wired broadband to that area along with the wireless carriers. I really see Verizon out in some remote areas, deploying LTE too far out areas. This is amazing. Areas that once were thought to be so remote that they can now have your smartphone or laptop connected via LTE signals. WOW!

What about city coverage? They don’t always have the coverage that we think they do, especially in areas where the “payback” is not obvious. This is a recurring theme I hear from cities. The need to make sure that broadband is available in all areas of the city. This seems like a non-negotiable issue. I guess it’s true that broadband is the new utility. As a utility, it assumes that we need it to live or at least live at a quality level of life. Of course, we can all live without electricity or running water, but do we want to? Of course not, not in our daily lives anyway. We want to have broadband as part of our daily lives.

Broadband is more than a luxury or something that’s nice to have. It is the livelihood of so many people, including me, to work efficiently and improve their daily lives. That is what the cities see. They see hundreds of small business taking off, becoming more than just a hobby or a way to play games or even watch TV. Broadband is all of that and more.

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I work and train from home using the internet to do it. I started my side business at home because I have broadband and because work no longer pays for it. I feel no guilt using it for gain and learning new skills, something that if work paid for they might frown upon it. It ain’t free! I pay for it. Work no longer pays for any broadband to the house yet they expect you to have it and work using it. Did you catch that, they expect you to have it. Broadband to the home has become an expectation, not a luxury.

The connection is not free, however. I pay for that, and it is part of my monthly service. I love it and yet I do pay for it and not it’s more important to me than TV on my cable bill. That is a shift in today’s world where cable and the internet would be on the same bill. However, today it’s an expectation.

Back to the smart city saga, they see the need because they want their residents to learn at home, to have the opportunity to work from home, and the bigger opportunity to start their online businesses at home or at least in a nearby office. They see the value is providing value to their residents. They see the success of each person that learns to take advantage of this. They know that broadband is a game changer.

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Now, how do we get the signal to the people? There is always fiber, which is awesome for getting broadband. However, it ain’t cheap, and most companies don’t want to add it to the “underserved” areas of town. You see, the big boys want to see a payback in a timely manner and it may not happen there. The cities are frustrated with this because those are the areas that could benefit the most. It’s a social dilemma because these areas need the opportunities to grow business, but the companies that can make it available to them won’t do it because they don’t see the immediate payback.

Business is business so what many cities are doing is taking the initiative to put broadband in these areas. Since they have fiber in some sections of this part of town, they are starting to rely on Wi-Fi to get the signal to the people. It’s what we used to call Muni Wi-Fi, municipal Wi-Fi where Wi-Fi covers the city, area by area. This way the people can connect for a reasonable price and almost anywhere they are near the hotspot.

For some examples of Muni Wi-Fi, take a look at the FierceWireless article here, http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/muni-wi-fi-2-0-time-cities-are-getting-smarter about how Wi-Fi is getting better.

To be honest, many of these initiatives have not been overwhelmingly successful. Not always a failure either. Somewhere in between, I would say. However, for the area where they don’t have anything else, it is a game changer for the residents, if they are ready 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsfor it. In today’s world, we have every device with Wi-Fi in it, smartphones and laptops and Kindles and iPads. While these are all high-end devices, I really don’t know more than 10 people that don’t have a smartphone. The ones that don’t have smartphones really could care less about the internet, so let’s not talk about them.

Let’s speak of the thousands of people that not only have it but rely on Wi-Fi to offload their smartphone data. Many times Wi-Fi works better than the carrier’s system unless you have a great LTE connection. While new formats are coming out in 2018, Wi-fi is already here and in almost every device. It can really help these areas if you educate the people.

Educate people? What does that mean? It means tell them it’s there! To do this, you need to get the word to them so that they know it’s there. Wi-Fi hotspots are very limited so most people may not see it. They might not know where to go to get connectivity. It is the city’s job to educate them, let them know it’s available, and what they should pay for it or how long it is free. Most people love free, including me. Let them know it’s there by other means!

What does 5G deployment mean? Find out, “The 5G Deployment Plan“, in PDF, eBook, and Paperback!

Just because it’s there doesn’t mean people will come, it’s not the “Field of Dreams” just yet, do your part. Make sure that the word gets out, and the people know what the terms are. It’s like when you go to the airport, and the Wi-Fi is only free for an hour. You usually read it on a billboard or see it on a screen or kiosk before you read the acceptance terms on your smartphone or laptop. Well, you may read it on your laptop, but probably not your smartphone.

Then you have some dedicated fans who are so grateful that you provided Wi-Fi for them. Getting the word out has been a major problem in the past. However, in the present, the cable companies have done a great job in letting you know where they have Wi-fi available and how long you can use it for free.

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

To get Wi-Fi out there it is not easy. There are 3 major things you need, 1) backhaul, 2) mounting assets with power, and 3) Equipment. All the rest will come together, but most people think you can mount anywhere. Without power and backhaul and a place to mount, your equipment is useless. It takes time and money to plan this out. I often see how people think it’s like putting a hotspot in your home, but it is not. While you’re not building towers, you still need an installation crew to mount it somewhere and have a backhaul plan in place. Remember that this is a professional installation, not something you plug-in, drop, and run.

If you’re in the rural areas, then you know that Wi-Fi is not a viable solution. There is just too much area to cover. We need to rely on fiber, cable, copper, and licensed wireless to cover these broad areas. They need to have it available where the people are. It’s going to continue to be a problem. While VSAT, satellite, is a viable option, it hasn’t panned out so well. It just never really served the way we all hoped, the delays were high, and when the transponder gets loaded, everybody gets slow. Slow sucks! We all have the need for speed, not the patience for connection issues. This will be an issue.

The smart city has many options. They need to consider each one and figure out who will pay for it.

That is a high overview on one thing that I see in all cities, the need for broadband speed. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. People rely on broadband for more and more in their everyday lives. So getting it to them in some way is critical!

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

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The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

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Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

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Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

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Smart City “Other” Services

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Let’s look at some services that you may not think you may not have thought of; some may call them unusual. I think it’s good to look outside of the box and think of what’s coming or maybe a way to solve a problem that you didn’t think of. Here are some things that may not be on your radar.

  • Drone traffic control and monitoring is something that will need to be implemented if Amazon wants to start a drone delivery service. I think that we need to start planning that now. Qualcomm is already testing drone control over LTE, which means it won’t be long until drones are able to be routed long distances, say a few miles. This will change the landscape for drone usage assuming the FAA can keep up with demand.
    • The dream of cost-effective drone delivery is going to become more and more real for more than food and goods.
    • Think of how we will get medicine to someone cost effectively and without worrying about traffic.
    • What about emergency services looking over an accident in real-time? I mean before emergency service can even get to the site, the drone pilot is already assessing the situation so that when emergency responders arrive the know exactly what to do and where to do.
    • What about tracking criminals? Suddenly we don’t have the expensive helicopters buzzing but the drones going after most criminals in real-time dispatched from the trunk of an officer’s car! How cool is that? Here is another tool in their arsenal to keep the streets safe.
    • Widespread search and rescue in parks can happen immediately, no more waiting for approval to start the search, just deploy a cost-effective drone.
  • Autonomous vehicle tracking and routing is one more item that may fall into the hands of the city. Someone has to track and route the vehicles. It may be the city or something equivalent to Uber or a taxi company. Who will do it and how will it be done? Will someone like AT&T or Verizon pick up this service? I can tell you this; they won’t do it for free!

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  • Criminal tracking is one thing that has been done for years with the ankle bracelets. This will be greatly improved with the IOT systems that are being deployed. Law enforcement can track someone better than ever using this service. Who will own it? Chances are someone will manage the system and send alerts to law enforcement when they leave their designated area.
  • Vehicle tracking is one more thing that may or may not catch on. While you may find this funny, it is being done in Songdo, South Korea, https://publications.iadb.org/handle/11319/7721 where they track legal and illegal vehicles in real time If a vehicle is stolen, it won’t take them long to catch it in the city. They use RFID to track vehicles throughout the city where each vehicle is registered, and they can immediately tell legal or not Then track it on their CCTV system.
  • Video tracking is going to be more important than ever. Again, in the study of Songdo, they also speak of monitoring the city of unusual activity using CCTV throughout the city. Most cities have video today but are they using it to its fullest potential. This is where they need applications to have facial recognition for catching criminals and monitoring traffic to alert them of accidents and to alert them when a crowd gathers in an unusual area meaning that something may be wrong. Take it to the next level!
  • Selling data will be a valuable source of income. I bring this up again and again because I would think that no one knows the city as well as the people who work there and represent the city. I don’t mean the propaganda that you tell everyone. I mean the traffic patterns and where most residents go at what time of day. How they can tell what businesses will take off and which ones won’t. They know this just because they know the city, the locations, and how people will react.
  • Grabbing attention with a large Kiosk is what Palo Alto intends to do. They are quite advanced in their smart grid project and the investment into smart city projects. One of them is to put in a 52” Kiosk downtown for the locals and visitors to know what is going on. A bulletin board that no one can miss. To learn more about what they and other cities are doing go to http://smartcitiescouncil.com/article/how-one-citys-not-afraid-fail-attitude-making-it-smarter and see what’s possible.

Tower Safety and Instruction has online training and eBooksTower Safety for all your safety training! at http://teltech-college.com/ where you can get drone, tower, safety, 5G, and deployment material on your laptop! TSI, making the best better.

My point here is that we need innovation. There is so much that is possible if we can see it. If we can imagine it. Albert Einstein once said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution” Let’s play a part in that evolution.

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

I have worked for large and small companies, and the one major thing they all have in common is that when they find something that works they stick with it. This is fine for a while, but eventually, you need to innovate again, use that imagination to create something great and new. Sure, we fail, but it could be on the way to something great, something bigger than us or what we imagined. Let’s do that together!

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsHere it is “The 5G Deployment Plan” available in PDF, Kindle, and Paperback!

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

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Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

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Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

 

Smart City Planning Audits

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If you think you have a plan for a smart city, great. If you don’t them decide what to do, just don’t waste this time by not knowing what you have.

One thing I have seen with Wi-Fi rollouts and Fiber rollouts is that in most cases the city is guessing at who owns what. I get it; there are a lot of poles, holes, and cables run throughout the city. I don’t believe that on a person can really get a handle on who owns what.

What you can do is audit what you have. Learn who owns what and who can attach to it. This is something that will take time and spread across departments, utilities, and services. These are going to vary and will be something that the city can leverage to make income, rollout services, or make changes to save money. The audit is going to be key. If you don’t think that your internal teams can do it, then hire a group to do it.

How do you do any of this if you don’t know what you already have?

Tower Safety and Instruction has online training and eBooksTower Safety for all your safety training! at http://teltech-college.com/ where you can get drone, tower, safety, 5G, and deployment material on your laptop! TSI, making the best better.

Mounting assets (lampposts, wood poles, telephone poles):

The assets I am talking about could be one of many things. The obvious would be the poles, rooftops, tower, and anything that you can mount a radio or fiber. Think about all the poles and map posts and guy wire that a radio can be mounted to!

We now live in the age of constant and never-ending connectivity. Think about what we can do if we get the wireless signals out to the people! It will be a necessity at some point. The owners of the poles and lampposts in the city can really benefit. I don’t think I am telling you anything new. This is already something that is being hunted down by most carriers in all cities. They want to mount radios to get the signal as close to the people as possible.

You, as a city, should know who owns what. If it’s you, then great, if it’s a utility, great! Just make sure you have it documented somewhere online so when someone tries to gain access they know whom to talk to and how to fill out the permits. The zoning information would be helpful too. Make it easy for them.

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsHere it is “The 5G Deployment Plan” available in PDF, Kindle, and Paperback!

Don’t’ forget what your requirements are with noise and aesthetics. These are things that a company like Crown Castle or Verizon will need to know when they deploy. If they put something up that you don’t like or is noisy, then the residents complain. Usually not to them, but to the city. They talk of problems and the eyesore and of course, the noisy fans. It matters to them because they live 20 feet from it. They pay their city taxes, and they want to have a beautiful and quiet neighborhood. That’s why it really helps if you do your part and define in great detail what you expect prior to issuing any permits.

This is the one thing that I learned from muni Wi-Fi, the poles are poorly managed in many cities. They don’t’ worry about it or care about it. They let it up to the contractors, us, to figure it out. Now they may regret not keeping up with it because it takes a lot of time and walking and research to figure it all out. I wouldn’t give it away for free. I would sell it, or I would keep it which means that it’s of no use the next time because things may have changed. See the problem; old data could be bad data. Maybe a great place to start, but maybe starting over would be easier.

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

What about mounting fiber to the poles? Often, we think it’s underground, but it could be overhead. The issue may be who owns the pole. If someone else signed an agreement that can refuse a competitor mounting to the pole, then you have limited assets. If you don’t’ think this happens, then look at http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2016/10/25/comcast-sues-metro-over-google-fiber-backed-pole-otmr-ordinance/92748490/ where Comcast did all that they could to block Google Fiber. It became a court battle, https://consumerist.com/2016/09/20/comcast-att-try-again-to-stall-google-fiber-in-nashville-by-writing-law-to-slow-it-down/ where they could not get along, not at all.

So, what’s a city to do? Look at the agreements you signed with your cable and fiber businesses. Look at how the utilities structured the contracts if they did so at all. Most utilities didn’t care until recently. Those contracts traditionally have been a headache for them. I get it, they are a pain to manage, and that’s not their primary income. However, they need to play nice in this new world of 5G!

Underground assets:

OK, this is technically a mounting asset, but why not separate it out. Now the Wi-Fi companies are getting creative in getting the signal to the people. They are working to provide coverage even if it’s on a manhole cover. Who owns the manhole? You should have that documented somewhere.

What about putting in vaults to mount the radios and router equipment so that it can connect to the fiber? Yes, underground vaults are a brilliant idea that is coming of age so that all we need to put on the pole is the antenna and maybe a very small radio head. Who will own that asset? I say the city, and they have a beautiful underground radio vault where they can charge rent.

What about the routing of cable? Here is another place the city or utility can allow access to the fiber and cable runs. This is something that they can lease. If you just want to stop the roads from getting ripped up every 2 years, plan ahead with empty conduits so that future runs can be fed from manhole to manhole. Make it easy and clean to allow a new player to come in and run cables by getting access to conduits that the city and utility planners put in ahead of time to save the streets from getting ripped up. Plan ahead, my friends!

Fiber assets:

You may have unused fiber you don’t think you need that you could lease or sell to someone in need. It’s extra income. If you don’t need it or don’t see an immediate need, sell or rent it.

You may be able to share some strands that you have with another carrier, business, or a customer. I know you may not want to get into the fiber business, but you could have a company manage this for you so that all you see is the recurring income.

These are assets that you may already have that you don’t know about. Make the most of it and get some income if possible.

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Building tops and Towers:

You probably know what towers ad building tops you have, I can only imagine. However, can you lease space off of them? In the past, you tried to keep it secure, but in this communication centric world, you can start opening up this revenue stream.

Many times you have more value than you originally thought. The rooftops that are empty because at one time they were too low now are closer to the public and possibly the best height for small cells to be mounted on edge. Open up your perspectives and see what you have to offer.

Your tower may be loaded on the top, but what about the lower parts? Are they open? Are they near busy places in the city? Take advantage of them and open them up!

Billboards:

This is something that the city may not own, but they could have access to. Many billboards have power which means they could be prime real estate for small cells and Wi-Fi and IOT! Use them. Find out who owns the property and who manages them. Keep track of them and see if you can offer them to wireless providers coming into your city.

If you think they don’t matter then think of your public safety systems. As FirstNet rolls out, they are going to push to mount in cities at some point. Make this another place they can use. AT&T will need more space, they want to cover your city, and you can bet they will use the FirstNet name to mount anywhere they can. Why not?

The Wireless Deployment Handbook  Paperback

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Parking Garages:

I often see city-owned parking garages in smaller cities. This is a great place to put antennas on. The stairwells are a great place to mount Wi-Fi and small cells. Lower levels could be used for small cells. This is another thing you should look at in your audit to see what you have to create a new source of income. Get the word out so that you expand your portfolio in a good way.

How will you know if you don’t make it available to all?

Street Furniture:

You have bus stops; train stops, parks, benches, garbage cans, and dumpsters, maybe even kiosks that would be a great fit for small cells, Wi-Fi, interactive displays, and more. Why not use them? You have the property already in place, and if you have power to them, you’re all set. The carriers may want to run fiber, but ask if they could use wireless backhaul or an alternative to fiber. See if fiber is nearby, it may not be so bad to run it there after all.

This may be a great opportunity to update your bus stops and train stops, make the most out of this. If you already had the plan to upgrade, think of what other services you could add. If they are owned by the transit company and not the city, then partner with them to improve what they have. Use LED lighting to save costs, add Wi-Fi to add value. So much more can be done. We can add small cells to get the carriers in there to improve their coverage and collect some rent along with it. As IOT coverage expands, it adds another source of income and service for the city and the transit company. It pays to have partners.

You could have large garbage cans or recycling cans or donation centers that people go to that are big and fixed. Take advantage of those structures to add small cells, Wi-Fi, or even a kiosk to share with the city. This is a form of street furniture that has value to a wireless rollout.

Wireless Backhaul:

If you have microwave or data backhaul, it could be used and leased to others. Many times old microwave shots will be taken down or not used, so why not put in something that could serve your city or the businesses nearby. It’s worth looking into. It could be Wi-Fi or a point to point link or a multipoint link. If you connect those links to the internet, you could connect buildings to a backbone. That’s something that you could offer to small businesses in that building, a broadband connection.

Data Collection:

I know this is a strange thing to audit, but it’s a valuable asset that is often overlooked. Think of how this could be useful. You may not see value in the data that your team has collected, but it has great value. Local business and non-profits need this data! Residents need this data! You use it internally so often that you take it for granted, but it has value.

If you give it away or if you use it internally, it can really help more than your teams. If you share it, either sell it or give it away or a combination, then your city can grow exponentially. This is something that small businesses, partners, and residents will find useful when deciding what to do next.

Small businesses may want to expand to a new neighborhood, or they may want to start a new business. The data that you provide will help them expand with great knowledge. It helps them make an educated guess using what they know, their customer feedback, and your data.

Partners and non-profits could be trying to help the city do something new, innovative, or charity work. Why not help them streamline what needs to be done and where to start. This is all going to be taken from what they learned and the data you provide. They want to help you become better, a better city with a better reputation. Do it as a team, play the part of supporter.

Residents are looking for what to do and what neighborhood to live in. The data you provide can help them make that decision. They need your input so that they can improve their daily lives. So that they can brag to their friend and family about what a great city they live in. Help make them proud of your city!

Notes:

I just want your teams to think outside the box and see value in more than the physical assets. I often fall into this being a wireless guy. I see so many things that are useful but not taken advantage of. Why not use all of them.

Resources:

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

5G Fixed Wireless Spectrum and Why it Matters

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I am excited that we talk of 5G and fixed wireless. Fixed Wireless is where we put a radio up and shoot it to a building or a kiosk or a small cell or even a macro cell. If you’re in the wireless deployment business, then you would call this point to point, PTP, or Point to Multi-Point, PTMP or PMP. We used to call these microwave hops, but in this case, it is broadband to a specific facility. While this has been done for a while, not it’s going to be a viable competitor to ISPs and Cable companies. Wireless is taking over, and we have a shot to change the world here. Not just the carriers, but the small businesses who want to become ISPs really have a shot to provide real bandwidth to business and home customers. WOW! Can you feel it, a new era is rising in wireless broadband!

Don’t worry, I tie this into smart cities at the end.

First, let’s look at the 5G spectrum. I’m not sure if any of you saw it, but the 5G Americas group put together a great sheet on the 5G spectrum. I have the link so go ahead and download it.

http://www.5gamericas.org/files/9114/9324/1786/5GA_5G_Spectrum_Recommendations_2017_FINAL.pdf

Look at the new bands that the FCC is proposing to use:

  • 24 GHz bands: 24.25-24.45 GHz and 25.05-25.25 GHz
  • Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) band: 27.5-28.35 GHz, 29.1-29.25 GHz, and 31-31.3 GHz
  • 39 GHz band: 38.6-40 GHz • 37/42 GHz bands: 37.0-38.6 GHz and 42.0-42.5 GHz
  • 60 GHz bands: 57-64 GHz and 64-71 GHz (extension)
  • 70/80 GHz bands: 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, 92-95 GHz

Tower Safety and Instruction has online training and eBooksTower Safety for all your safety training! at http://teltech-college.com/ where you can get drone, tower, safety, 5G, and deployment material on your laptop! TSI, making the best better.

If you think this is just ridiculous because you remember that this is merely a point to point short-haul solution, at least if you’re in the business and been around, you might be surprised that both Verizon and AT&T are bidding on Straight Path for their 38GHz licenses, http://www.phonearena.com/news/AT-T-outbid-for-Straight-Path-by-mystery-firm-rumored-to-be-Verizon_id93451 to gain that particular spectrum. Oh yeah, it is real, and it is valuable, and it will be a pain I the ass to engineer. Don’t forget about the Verizon XO deal, http://www.telecompetitor.com/in-pursuit-of-5g-spectrum-verizon-xo-purchase-closes/ where Verizon wants to lease the 28 to 31 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum.

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

Here it is “The 5G Deployment Plan” available in PDF, Kindle, and Paperback!

Even T-Mobile is getting in on the act, over a year ago they tested 5G on 38GHz, http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/t-mobile-files-to-conduct-5g-tests-at-28-38-ghz, to see how viable it is.

I don’t see this spectrum as a mobile solution, but more of a fixed solution. This is going to be a thorn in the side of the cable and ISP business model. Why? It’s a new competitor that will have the reach and customer base and savvy to steal those customers. Remember, fewer millennials are watching traditional TV, they watch on demand as most of you do. Don’t deny it, do you really sit down and watch a show at the designated time or do you watch it on Amazon or Netflix or Zulu or with your DVR?

I tell you that I watch it on my DVR, but also on Amazon. I don’t watch much at the time the show airs except live sports. If there is the demand for live TV, sports is it! Even though I can watch sports on a device as well.

So, the push for massive broadband is coming. Those crappy TV packages that they cable companies are pushing will slowly fade away. Seriously, why can’t I get the channels I want and why do they always change the lineup which cancels the one channel I watch? I really hate paying a lot of money for something that I don’t really want, but the cable companies are not changing fast enough in my opinion. However, they do have great internet speeds to the home. I won’t deny that. They have a great model there with the cable modems.

How do you plan goals? Now you can plan 5 Weeks at a time! The 5-week Planning Journal, (click here), available now in paperback from Amazon!

The wireless carriers are going to have to make it cost-effective, so all they need to do is come in lower, about 25%, on price to compete. They can’t come in at the same price because cable is very reliable and I get the feeling wireless will need a year to get there. I think they will need to work out the bugs. Then they will do what they always do, slowly raise the price until you leave.

That is why I am hoping that Legere at T-Mobile makes waves by getting there first. He already said he wants to attack the big cable companies the way that he attacked the big wireless carriers. If anyone can do it, I believe that John Legere can do it. He needs to push into fixed wireless. However, I believe he is too smart to just jump in. I think he will wait for Verizon and AT&T to work out the bugs and then pounce. First isn’t always best when there are problems. So why be first when the technology isn’t quite there? When it is, hammer the deals out to the customer, like he did with mobility. Great job there becoming #3 and pushing into #2.

Of course, CBRS will also be a game changer for those businesses that don’t need 100Mbps.It will allow us to do more in the rural areas. Remember CBRS, 3.5GHz? I love this spectrum because it will be open to more than just the big bad carriers who rule the spectrum. We have a chance to create something great when I say we, I mean the small businesses who must feed off the scraps which the carrier doesn’t own or manage. This may be the most valuable of all because it may not require LOS, a line of site, as shown here, http://www.telecompetitor.com/fixed-lte-in-cbrs-band-not-expected-to-require-line-of-sight-for-fixed-wireless/ for the connections to be made. This opens new doors for connectivity. I think it’s real and exciting! Hey don’t take my word for it, ask Google, http://www.rcrwireless.com/20161117/carriers/google-sees-cbrs-spectrum-band-key-5g-new-model-industry-tag2, and they will vouch for this.

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To be fair, the 5G Americas Spectrum document that I reference above also has a quick blurb in it about CBRS, and I quote “Other bands of interest, From the point of view of global harmonization in the 3 to 5 GHz range as the main mid-range spectrum target for 5G, interests have been expressed in use of this range for 5G in the United States. This could potentially include current CBRS band (3.55-3.7 GHz) and beyond (e.g. up to 4.2 GHz).” I believe that the CBRS will play a large part because the carrier doesn’t want to deploy small cells everywhere, in fact, they are going to let that up to the business owners or the landlord to do. They won’t admit this but I think they are looking for a neutral host solution and CBRS is a great solution! Licensed and protected and it could potentially have multiple carriers on one band. If you think this is crazy, have you ever heard of Wi-Fi? Does it discriminate based on a carrier in your home? NOPE! It just connects, so this will be a stepped-up version of that where it will connect, but it may discriminate based on your carrier. Amazing!

The Wireless Deployment Handbook  Paperback

Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!The Wireless Deployment Handbook eBook that covers professional carrier end to end deployment of LTE small cells, CRAN, and DAS showing you the proper way to plan for deployment then execute.

If you want to read more about it, 4G Americas put together a document back in October of 2014, found here http://www.5gamericas.org/files/2414/1323/5229/4G_Americas_Spectrum_Sharing_-_FINAL_Oct_2014.pdf that helps explain CBRS. Go ahead, download it, it’s free!

Why does Fixed Wireless Matter to a Smart City?

Why? Because cities are going to want alternatives to running fiber on poles and underground. The dig once the policy is going to be enforced more and more throughout the USA. The poles are going to be a point of contention among competitors. The access rights and permitting battles will heat up until we find a resolution. The FCC is working to streamline small cell deployments, and the cities are realizing that they must lay out the requirements for a proper installation. If things go as planned, the fixed wireless base stations should be a lot like small cells with batteries. I believe that power is going to be the issue because if the power goes out people still want Internet access. So, this issue needs to be resolved.

The smart city is going to be aware that they need broadband service for small businesses and for kiosks as well as food trucks. They will rely on smartphones, but the demand will grow. As demand grows we come up with new solutions. If you go to a city, you will see stands that sell newspapers, hot dogs, and T-Shirts almost on every busy street. They rely on landlines and smartphones to do business now. It will become a game changer when they can run the online business out of the same small stand that they run the physical business out of. Things change and become more and more advances. As the business grows, revenue grows, the city gains more in tax revenue. It’s a win-win all around.

I am hoping that fixed wireless can be one of the catalysts to help make this happen.

Resources:

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

SOW Training Cover

Do you know what to put in your SOW, the details needed to get paid for milestones or job completion? 

The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need! 

official logo

Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need and beyond with financial support and counseling!

tower-family-foundation-e1447069656192

Tower Family Foundation supports the families of tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls with financial assistance and more.

Sprint and UE Backhaul equals a Magic Box

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This is very exciting to me, Sprint unveils something that only needs power to provide small cell coverage. Did you hear me? I did NOT miss the backhaul. They have a box, apparently made by Airspan, that is the small cell providing enough coverage for a 30,000-square foot building and to cover a hundred feet outside.

While all your installers might not like this, it does sound awesome, just to plug it in and it works. How cool is that? They say they will give it to qualifying customers, not sure what that means just yet.Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

How does it work? Well, from a high level, they probably use that larger amount of 2.5GHz TDD as backhaul. I think it’s pretty cool, and to be honest, I can’t believe that Sprint is first to market with this. This could be a game changer. I believe this is what Sprint wanted to do with the Mobilities partnership on a larger scale. Too bad Mobilities plan didn’t work, in fact, they made it harder on the wireless industry to deploy. That is another story.

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Sprint is deploying 2.5GHz nationwide, trying to mirror what they have. So far, it adds TDD data only, no voice. As far as I know Sprint did NOT deploy VoLTE yet. Not sure why except for their dire financial situation and poor planning.

The forward channel is probably 3G for the voice, (NO VoLTE), and maybe 2.5GHz or their FDD-LTE channels.

They really have a sweet setup, and they are finally using the 2.5GHz spectrum for more than a bargaining chip to merge with someone. Way to go Sprint!

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Airspan made this product, great job! Seriously, WOW! You guys may be able to leapfrog some other small cell vendors out there in no time. Make sure you keep on top of it to work out any bugs there may be in it.

Let’s review:

  • UE backhaul using the 2.5GHz spectrum, they have about 204MHz of spectrum, but I would imagine they have only deployed half of that.
  • The 2.5GHz spectrum can only handle data, no voice because they have no VoLTE now.
  • Using carrier aggregation, they can make all their 2.5GHz carriers look like one big pipe, probably around 120MHz of spectrum give or take.
  • They already tested a throughput of 700Mbps of throughput successfully. In theory, they could have 7 customers that could do 100Mbps simultaneously on one sector. How cool is that?
  • The drawback? Sprint itself does not have national coverage! Oh no, they rely on partners to use the spectrum the best they can, remember that Sprint is a member of the CCA and relies on their partners, who may or may not be up to the latest rev or be utilizing all the spectrum. They are partners, not owned by Sprint, so tier 3 and 4 cities may not have this option.

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  • Sprint is trying to use MIMO, which was tested, but not rolled out everywhere. This will open new bandwidth, but it will cost money to roll out, the one thing that Sprint does not have.
  • I have the links to the articles below, and they say the magic box can extend the signal outside the building to, up to 100 meters outside and cover 30,000 square feet inside. I would imagine all line of site.
  • This is an Airspan box, based on the article below and according to Dr. John Saw’s blog, the link is below.
  • Sprint appears to be rolling out 2.5GHz everywhere, which is a great thing if you have Sprint, the LTE data should be awesome!
  • Sprint says the box is free to qualifying customers, which is, “If a customer no longer wants the Sprint Magic Box at their location, Sprint will make arrangements for the customer to return the device at no cost. Sprint may charge up to $140 to a Sprint customer’s service account if the device is not returned.” What is a qualifying customer?
  • Sprint speed note, “Signal and speeds based on optimal conditions for most Sprint devices.”

Is this the real deal? Most articles are very skeptical of Sprint. In my opinion, they made some bonehead decisions in the past (purchase of Nextel, Xohm, Clearwire, Next-Generation Network, no VoLTE) Not to mention they have a heavy debt, and they dropped to #4. (The much more confident carrier T-Mobile blew by them this year showing no signs of slowing down! One thing I must give John Legere, he walks the talk.) Can Sprint do the Sprint bounce back? Their track record is not so impressive. I personally hope they turn it around to look great once again. Will it happen? I believe it all depends on the leadership and great ideas. This may be the first step. I think the technical leadership must be there and prove they can do it. Good luck Sprint!

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Resources:

I guess that Airspan built the product from the Airdensity or the Airvelocity, the information links are below. I should admit, it looks like a great product.

  1. http://www.airspan.com/airdensity/
  2. http://www.airspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/AirVelocity-Product-Spec-Sheet.pdf
  3. http://www.airspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/AirDensity-Product-Spec-Sheet.pdf
  4. http://www.airspan.com/products/

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