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No Holiday for Tech or it’s Workers!

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Technology does not get a day off. In fact, people rely on it more on their days off. Can you deny that you won’t be on the internet, posting pictures from your smartphone, or anything like that over your holiday break? Can you possibly live without Facebook to share those special moments with family that couldn’t be there when your kids open that gift? Maybe when they put on that outfit someone in another state bought so they get to see the excitement, or gloom, in the kid’s eyes when they try it on for the first time.

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Most people that use their technology have no idea how hard it is to make changes are upgrades when the fewest number of people are using it. This could be the holidays or overnight. Most engineers, installers, and even climbers have worked these shifts.

I worked many holidays back in the day! It is part of the job description when you do any public safety or carrier work. It’s business as usual. Upgrades, repairs, emergencies, and anything else that may have needed to be done. I have also got called out for useless things that someone thought was important, although we know it wasn’t, you know what I mean. Stupid stuff that could have waited. It’s all part of the job, which is really a lifestyle when you think about it.

Memories! I was called out on New Year’s Eve back when I was in paging because we all thought that the year 200 GPS roll over was going to crash systems, remember Y2K? I do, I worked that New

Year’s Eve as did all our teams to make sure the paging terminals, controllers and microwave uplinks would not crash. Fun times? No, but the team was awesome! They did a great job and didn’t complain, too much.

I was called out on Christmas when a system crashed, and a hospital needed to stay in touch. It was a quick fix that only took 6 hours or so, but it was back on the air when I was finished.

I once left a Thanksgiving because a modem was locked up. I drove 60 miles to reboot a modem so people could connect. All this at midnight so it would work the first thing in the morning.

I once had to repair a terrestrial link that died the day my oldest son was born. It failed because someone in the office changed something they shouldn’t have, and it crashed. Things happen, people do stupid things, and this is what happens. I don’t judge because I do stupid things. Sometimes the timing could be better, that’s all. Because the company didn’t want to pay for a contractor to come, they called me. They didn’t seem to know I was up all night in the hospital watching my oldest son come into this world. My son is doing great by the way.

Enough about me, let’s hear a great story about a big venue! The Las Vegas Convention Center is impressive, full of Wi-Fi and carriers. Cox manages most of the wireless there and they do a great job. The team there has done an outstanding job building up the Wi-Fi and managing the wireless carriers throughout the center. I am impressed with all that they have done.

However, the Cox team has a tough job. They look at holidays, even Christmas, as a prime time to upgrade their system. I was out at IWCE a few years back and I got to talk to the team that manages the wireless systems. They were a great bunch of guys. There is one Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!guy managing almost all the wireless. His main responsibility was the Wi-Fi, but he also would oversee the DAS and carrier work inside the convention center.

You see, for the convention center to deal with all the carriers and the Wi-Fi vendors is a headache for them. After all, their business is booking the convention center and maintaining it. Wireless is one part of it. So, they have a team to manage the wireless. Under the wireless umbrella is Wi-Fi and Cellular. The cellular, in this case, is all the carriers who have coverage in the building. It really is impressive the way they have the systems installed to cover the entire venue.

It’s more than Wi-Fi, it is also the tracking of users, the counting of people in the venue and walking by. The managing of all the heavy data usage. The Cox team does an amazing job managing everything, physical and data. It’s no easy task.

If you think that they get a day off, guess again, they usually work holidays to make sure that the upgrades and changes are made. No SOW Training Coverone said wireless gets a day off. Holidays are when the teams do upgrades, additions, and changes. That is how these venues continue to grow and improve.

He told me the story of how he had to work Christmas, like most holidays, because the convention center is empty, and they can make changes without hurting service or interrupting people on the floor.

This shows you that they really care about the uptime and quality of the service not to mention the interruption of anything going on. They know that they have a window to work when no one can be interrupted. They do this when they can, which is generally a holiday when everyone else is off and enjoying their family time.

In tech and wireless, believe it or not, the customer really does come first. User experience matters.

These guys work hard when you relax just so you have a great user experience when you’re at the convention center for anything.

It’s not just him, the installers, engineers, commissioning teams,

everyone, all there so that the system gets installed properly. They look at holidays as the day to get things done without customer complaining or getting in the way.

So, when using your smartphone or getting on Facebook, think how many people are working to make sure you can post on Facebook or share this blog and listen to my podcast. Technology has come a long way, but it still takes people to install and commission. Plug and Play is close, but for the large deployments, it’s not quite there. Even so, you still need to install the gear, even small cells, they don’t show up by themselves and the drones can’t do it. It’s not an app, but physical hardware that will be attached to a physical structure.

I have to tell you, I don’t miss being called out or working for someone else on holidays. I get to work on my writing or things like that and spend time with family. I missed so much when my kids were young. That’s right, while the work was rewarding, it does bring regrets. Unfortunately, we don’t realize that until you hit my age. When you think these people work hard, they do, they also give up a lot, miss a lot, sacrifice a lot. That’s why I write, so I have more choices in how I spend my time. It took me over 50 years to figure that out.

Thank you to all the installers, engineers, IT technicians, wireless workers and construction workers that gave up their holidays to make sure we have a better system. Thank you for making it so reliable, and trying not to inconvenience the people who can’t live without Facebook or LinkedIn. I was one of you and now I enjoy all that work that you still do today. I hope you get paid well because you deserve it.

Godspeed!

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

May you find peace!

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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.

What is Carrier Aggregation?

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Did you ever hear of carrier aggregation and wonder, “What is Carrier Aggregation?”, at least in the wireless world. How does it work and how will it help improve bandwidth and what does it have to do with 5G?

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Carrier Aggregation, a LTE feature that bonds together multiple carriers to make it look like on big channel or pipe. An excellent explanation can be found at http://www.3gpp.org/technologies/keywords-acronyms/101-carrier-aggregation-explained where they explain in detail how it’s done.

Let me give you the high level of what it is, how it works, and why we love it.

It can be used on TDD or FDD, in fact, the beauty of aggregation is that it crosses formats and puts together into one. This was the foundation for LAA and LWA, (Licensed Assist Access and LTE Wi-Fi aggregation. The key here is that the LTE carrier can use multiple carriers look like one big carrier, regardless of where the bandwidth comes from. This is exciting because we used to be limited to one carrier. Now we can have many carriers all working together to reach higher than 100 Mbps throughput speeds!

How can they do that? Well, in this data-centric world we could use multiple RF sources if both sides can receive and transmit, then the data can be aggregated together. The RF becomes the pipe. The devices must be able to receive all the spectrum to get the benefits.

The best examples are AT&T who was able to use multiple bands to jump from 10.69 Mbps to 15.18 Mbps using carrier aggregation. Sprint can aggregate 3 carriers in the 2.5GHz band to get more throughput than almost anyone on a standard LTE carrier.

We still rely on the coverage to be good. We also need to know that the carrier has aggregation functions enabled. Here in the USA, anyone using LTE has this enabled. If not, get on with it.

The goal is to get past 1Gbps in throughput, and the way to do that is by using the spectrum we have and putting it all together to look like one big pipe. It may need help like massive MIMO and 64 and/or 256 quadrature amplitude modulation, (QAM) to make it happen along with carrier aggregation.

How is this done? Well, according to Carrier Aggregation for dummies, link below, we can use 2 10MHz channels along with 2×2 MIMO to get 150Mbps, then we jump to 4CA, 4 carriers of 10MHz each along with 2×2 MIMO to get 600Mbps of throughput. Awesome! The 600Mbps is happening today and should be out in the real world soon! I can’t wait!

So how is it done? The carrier aggregation is done when the data is controlled by the core and a header is attached to the packets going out to the device so that the device can piece them all back together. The caveat is that the transmitting device must send all the data at the same time and the UE device has to receive, (hear), all the data at the same time. The device will put the blocks all back together, so they look like a huge pipe of data being push into your device! BAM! Big data throughput shoved into those tiny devices over the air!

Let’s simplify, we can take channels of 20MHz, 15MHz, and 5MHz over the air and add carrier aggregation to talk to the device. The device should have two receive antennas, and the transmitter should have two transmit antennas. The data all goes out to the device at the same time, and when the packet is sent, it thinks it is going through a 40 MHz pipe, and this equates to a downlink rate of 300Mbps using 64 QAM using 2×2 MIMO. The 2×2 MIMO is the antennas all working together. The 64 QAM is the modulation rate. Do you feel it? Do you feel the power of aggregation making wireless connections feel more and more like fiber? What was once a Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!spattering of spectrum is slowly becoming a beautiful orchestra all playing together as one solid melody. Again, I wish I could hear the beauty, but all I can do is impress you with a speed test on my smartphone.

Modulation is increasing as 256 QAM is being rolled out, three carrier aggregation is here today, and we are using LTE in conjunction with more spectrum. In theory, using TDD on 2.5GHz should put Sprint in prime position to make the leap to 5G massive broadband in no time, that is, if they can get out of their own way to make that happen. Instead, I see T-Mobile making great things happen with the spectrum they have. There is a company that I wish had more spectrum to pump massive data out to the masses, but let’s put our personal opinions aside.

Do you get what is happening? The shift of new breakthroughs is increasing wireless throughput to improve. I mentioned massive MIMO in an earlier post, I explained TDD and FDD, now you have more on aggregation to show you that the wireless 1Gbps is just around the corner, possibly in 2019.

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Remember when carriers relied on the FCC to release more and more spectrum, that should be less of an issue with aggregation and massive MIMO. We should see new throughputs as well as efficiencies and loading improvements throughout the next several years.

Now, you are wondering why we need this, fair question. This is going to be one more stepping stone to 5G and the throughput requirements that are expected. You see, it is not done with just one leap in technology, it is done in steps. To get to 5G we may need new hardware, but the goal is to put out the box and antennas that will last for over five years, nearly an eternity in technology. If you do not believe me, ask yourself when the last time you got a new smartphone, is it over five years old? Seriously, think about it. Is it over five years old? Why did you get a new one? Nuff said!

So there you have it, yet another leap made towards the 5G massive broadband dream! Aggregation is incredible! It’s being done today! Combine that with massive MIMO, and we have liftoff to the beginning of 1Gbps to every new smart device out there in 2020. Do you feel the power of broadband in your hand! Who needs a cable connection when your smartphone can be the access point in your house. Triple play already exists on your smartphone. With it you can watch Netflix on any device, after all, you don’t want to miss a single episode of Game of Thrones! Binge watch baby, don’t stop! You have unlimited data.

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

Please! Follow me on WordPress, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Just click and follow! Thank you!

  Get all your updates via email!

 

Tower Safety for all your safety training!

 

 

 

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Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

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.

What is Massive MIMO?

What is massive MIMO? Let’s start with MIMO, Multiple in Multiple out.

What is MIMO?

Well, in wireless technology MIMO means that you have several antennas and radios all on one BTS. So, you have one BTS with a

sector that has multiple antennas for transmit and receive. So, the alpha sector could have four transmit and four receive all in one panel. With only a few transmit and receive, the radio head could be behind the antenna. MIMO is already deployed across the US by almost all the carriers helping LTE reach the speeds it has today. That along with carrier aggregation, improved processing, optimization techniques, and a myriad of additional features making that smartphone look faster than your laptop when running an app.

What is massive MIMO?

This is where we have more active elements in the antenna; this could be 64T64R or 128T128R or even higher. The 64T is 64 transmit elements, and 64R is 64 receive elements. Just imagine the feature we get from MIMO, listed above, are suddenly on steroids and making the current features even better! WOW!

This changes many things on the tower. Since running 64 coax jumpers is not practical, the OEMs are inclined to create an active antenna. That would be an antenna with the radio head inside of the antenna so that they could have a connection between each radio head to each element. It just makes sense. No more coax and fiber direct to the antenna. No more radio head and power to the antenna.

What changes will happen in the eNodeB? The BBU will need to handle more processing than ever! They will also need to improve the BBU, the baseband unit.

Why do we need massive MIMO?

Several reasons come to mind, listed below, feel free to add more.

  • High bandwidth needed for throughput
  • Spectral efficiency for improved spectrum usage
  • Lower latency
  • Improved device density connectivity
  • It is a step towards 5G

What does the BBU need to do to support massive MIMO?

It needs to process so much more data. Now, instead of controlling one or 8 radio heads, it will need to process and distribute the power Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!across 64 or more individual radio elements. It needs to pass more data.

The BBU needs to be significantly improved. What will it do?

  • Process more data
  • More bandwidth
  • Control more radio heads
  • Talk to more UE devices
  • Handle carrier aggregation
  • Process more services simultaneously
  • Perform self-optimizing network, SON, services
  • Capture data
  • Handle neighbor list to avoid interference

 

What about the backhaul?

It needs to be upgraded to handle more data since we are now going to increase the broadband throughput. 1Gbps backhaul may not cut it because it may need to be much more. What does this mean?

  • Better routers at the sitesSOW Training Cover
  • More strands of fiber for each site
  • Aggregation of the fiber carriers so that it looks like a massive pipe of over 10Gbps
  • Improved network slicing functions for the router to perform more functions than before

What about the fronthaul?

The fronthaul is the fiber, (or wireless), the line between the BBU and the radio heads which now should be in the active antenna.

This may require more strands per sector so that the data can be sent to each sector. Look at it this way, instead of dealing with one antenna with 4 to 8 elements; now you are dealing with one active antenna that could be simultaneously sending data to more than 64 elements in one concentrated antenna system. That is a lot of data! In theory, it could be more than 1Gbps per sector! WOW!

Fronthaul will need to be:

  • Improved for more bandwidth and data
  • Lower latency than before
  • Perhaps more strands of fiber

Can CRAN or C-RAN be a massive MIMO system?

The jury is out because of the massive bandwidth and low latency. This is going to be worked out, but it is essential that we know that a Centralized RAN and a Cloud RAN are essential parts of the 5G system. As you all know, massive MIMO is a huge stepping stone for 5G.

What about CRAN and C-RAN?

This is going to be a challenge to get to no BBU at the site, but it can be done. The need for MEC, Mobile Edge Computing is still there because we want low latency. That is right; the routing needs to be as short as possible. Also, the RF equipment is doing an excellent job of lowering latency. The 5G standards are asking for lower and lower latency, looking for 1ms or less, wow! That is going to be a real challenge if you rely on the cloud to do the BBU processing or if you have the BBU hotel somewhere else. Why? Even though it is light running through the fiber, it takes time to travel across town, the state, or anywhere. Hence, that is how MEC may be able to save the day! Direct routing would be a key factor instead of running everything back to the core.

How does it affect the UE device?

The UE probably won’t have more than four antennas in it, if that. They may have 2 to 4 receive antennas, and two transmit. The thing is though, with massive MIMO and the way it should work, an element or 2 can focus on one US device freeing up the other to talk individually to other devices. This will improve throughput and lowers latency.

The bottom line is that it will help the UE in 2 ways. The UE will get more bandwidth, especially as they add more antennas internally, they already have two receive in most devices which allow for better downloads. The massive MIMO will be able to talk directly to an individual device and lower latency. This will help the response time of the device, making the device seem more responsive and once again, quicker! Now it is up to the device makers to speed up the internal processing speed and improve the memory in each device so that we can enjoy the new low latency services.

What changes at the site?

This is going to require new equipment at the site, no matter how you look at it. The equipment that is there now will need to be upgraded or replaced. Most likely, some of it will need to be replaced. It would make sense to have 64 or more radio heads so that you would replace the existing antennas and radio heads with an active antenna. You would remove all coax and run fiber to the antenna. You would need a BBU that can kick ass with processing power and bandwidth. You need to improve your backhaul, which means a better router CRAN quality equipment at the site. You need to improve your fronthaul between the BBU and the active antenna.

What does it mean for business?

Here’s the deal, the equipment we have today will not cut it. Replacing the existing BBU and radio heads and antennas with the new system. It must happen. So, this means a lot more work for the deployment crews. As always, it will all happen at once, causing a strain on the tower workforce.

  • Tower crews – busy replacing equipment on tower and the ground
  • Engineering teams – new RF engineering and optimization along with drive tests to complete the rollout of the new system. Let’s not forget the potential for self-interference that’s going to happen. There is a learning curve.
  • Backhaul:
    • The fiber needs to be upgraded, new fiber or additional fiber.
    • Wireless backhaul will need to be replaced, added, or upgraded.
    • The router needs to be upgraded or replaced.
    • Backhaul will need to be upgraded, so the service provider had a real opportunity to make some additional money on installation and possibly monthly reoccurring for fiber delivery services.
  • The OEMs will have a significant push for getting the new gear out to carriers, mostly in urban areas, so it will not be the entire system that gets upgraded, but the specific markets where loading is needed or where 5G is a priority.
  • The carriers need to invest in this, apparently, the stepping stone to real 5G bandwidth and performance. Enough said.
  • The tower companies may not get any more money. The way most leases are written leaves room for these upgrades. Of 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelscourse, the tower companies will find ways to make incremental dollars like site access, new structural for less weight, and so on. What they will not get is the additional rent money that is their bread and butter. However, we will Those larger tower owners are savvy.
  • What about small cells? I bring this up because, in theory, the way that the massive MIMO improves densification it may reduce the need for a small cell that usually would fall within the coverage area of the tower for loading purposes. This hurts me to say, but small cells will be a fill site outdoors. Indoors we will still need small cells for coverage and offloading. The outside in coverage does not cover as well with new environmentally friendly windows. We need the indoor small cells more than ever.
  • Looking at the additional parts associated with the deployments we need to see that coax is going to be reduced dramatically. What’s the need when you run fiber everywhere. Let’s look at the list and make this easy.
    • Coax, hardline, jumpers, and associated connectors and ground kits will no longer be needed for this type of deployment. Get ready to see a lot more of the old stuff on the scrap metal places.
    • Fiber will increase. I am curious if the carriers will continue buying the hybrid cables for fronthaul or if they will just buy armored fiber lines to run to the radio heads up the tower or in the rooftops. They still need power to the antenna, which they initially needed for the radio heads. Remember that the connectors may change, so we will have to think about the distribution of jumper.
    • Tower mounts may change. All the weight from the radio heads will be shifted to the actual antenna mount. Whether it is a simple mast of the whole mount. The radio head weight will be gone from behind the antenna, and now it is going to be in the antenna. Weight distribution has changed from being evenly distributed to being concentrated on the antenna. Site engineering should be fun.
    • Possibly power upgrades will be needed which means potentially new rectifiers and battery upgrades and then utility upgrades. Remember that we were trying to get more power efficiency at the sites, this may be a set back for that effort. If you need a new rectifier, then maybe new or additional batteries and associated cables and hardware. Then the power from the utility to power said rectifiers.

OK, that should be good for now. I am putting together a full report, if you’re interested, reach out to Wade4wireless@gmail.com for more information.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

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Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

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.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives Part 1

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This is part one of a three-part series. This has been taken from my upcoming book, Smart City Use Cases, with Smart City Development Notes.

Smart City Broadband Initiatives

Are you curious about some broadband initiatives that are out there? Some broadband case studies that are have rolled out? What Tower Safety for all your safety training!broadband initiatives have been successes and failures? What works better, the city owning it or a public-private partnership or private only?

I am always saying that broadband is the foundation of any smart city. Someone shared the Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook. It’s publication by Gig.U, and it can be downloaded from http://www.gig-u.org/. Gig.U is a group that encourages the partnerships between cities and universities. They did a great job of putting together this document, published in December of 2016, showing past case studies of gigabit deployments in both wireless and wired. They cover success and failures.

Here is an outline of some of what is in this document, I highly recommend downloading it, after all, it is free!

First off, the make the point that CapEx and OpEx must be lower than the revenues coming in and it should be serving a purpose for the users. Pay attention, Value and Profit make the system sustainable! Value and profit make the system growable! It has to make money! That is something that most cities overlook because they think that the benefit will outweigh the revenue, but it will not. Revenue matters in the long run and the benefits matter up front. Up front we want buy-in and residents to love it. In the long run, we

need sustainability, so it does not bleed money in expenses.

Does it solve a problem for the

residents? So, they see the value in it? Will they pay for it? When you start a business, you need to answer these questions. Figure out the price point. Some cities can put a tax out there to pay for the system, but that is not popular in most cities.

One example that I love in this document is the cable companies. They saw broadband up to 1 Gbps as silly, but they really didn’t want to upgrade their system unless they had too. Guess what? They had to! BUT, after they got competition in first form the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and Google running fiber all over the place for a very reasonable cost to the consumer. It paid off. Now all the cable companies are touting higher speeds. They see value because they were losing market share. That’s amazing when you realize they had a monopoly for years in their neighborhoods. They had no competition, but the need for broadband and cheaper video hurt them. They thought they could control the market, but in the USE the market started swinging back with DirecTV and fiber competitors. They suddenly have to be strategic.

OK, let’s get back to the business of broadband. Once you build it, expect competition! If your business model works then more and more people will do it, just look the cable companies. While they had a monopoly for years, they got lazy. Now they have competition, and it’s hurting them. Not just from fiber, most of the younger generation realized that they have a smartphone that can do anything the cable company can do, so why pay for both? Get the picture? The landscape has changed, and if you just look at other companies that do what you do, then you only see part of the competitive landscape.

This is happening with everything because broadband is the pipe to end all pipes. It could be through fiber or wireless, but the internet has opened doors to everything unless you live in China, then it only has a few open doors and a lot of blocked websites.

There is one thing that almost any city can agree on. You need broadband in your city to compete. The question is, “How do we get 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsit here?” This is where you can look at other examples of successes and failures.

Google Fiber was supposed to be the knight in shining armor, but they stopped. They say they are going to wait for wireless, probably CBRS, but to be honest, there are plenty of bands and products that could deliver broadband now. I think that Google realized the profit model was not what they had hoped for, but they never said that officially, they just stopped, laid off a bunch of people, changed some leadership in the company, and they started saying wireless would save the day.

More on Google fiber stopping http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article110655177.html, this is a great article because they talk about all the pain points that Google saw in the real world. TV is expensive, incumbents have more control of the poles than they ever thought possible, and maybe wireless will be easier. They also say demand is not there. I don’t get that excuse at all! It seems lame. I think they should say competition is fiercer than they thought. That is more like it. For me to sum it up, Google should have cherry-picked markets that didn’t have too much competition. They should have focused on tier 2 cities that would not only have appreciated their presence but don’t have an alternative. I live in Pennsylvania, where the cable companies rule. The rules here don’t make it an ideal state to deploy much of anything, but it has plenty of underserved cities that not only want broadband, but they need it to survive. The smaller cable companies will not make the investment until they have too. They won’t spend the money. This is an ideal target for someone like Google Fiber to deploy. But, alas, I am dreaming.

Where was I? Oh yes, economic development. Broadband is a foundation for economic development. We know that businesses need broadband to survive, but how do they get it? Many cities have a dig once policy, so if someone lays broadband, then many people need to get it in while he or she can. This really helps to get things moving and keep the competition behind you if they are late to the game. Fiber companies and deployment companies win! They can lay out the dark fiber and sell it later, not a bad model.

They also cover the 3 models that cities can look at.

Primary

This is where the city takes the lead by using public facilities to roll out the fiber and makes the investment to deploy. They use their assets to mount it. They are the provider. They may partner with someone, but generally, the city runs the business and takes the credit.

An example of this is the Chattanooga, TN, network. In 2010 the city decided to have a gigabit network available for homes. They rolled it out, and since then Volkswagen and Amazon both expanded to that area. We give the broadband credit since it was there and they took a chance to deploy. Their model served other cities like Wilson, NC, and Leverett, Ma.Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

They also talk about Ammon, Id, who also built the gigabit backbone. They decided to provide the gigabit backbone because the local telco would not spend any money. The city was worried because they would need 50% of the market share to make it pay for itself. Guess what? They got 70% of the market share! When incumbents get lazy, there is a great opportunity!

Huntsville, Al, owns the electric utility. This provided them with the means and foundation to deploy broadband quickly and with an experienced player. They put in the backbone and leased it to Google Fiber. This is a win-win because Google didn’t’ have to deploy the backbone, the fiber is there and ready to use. They could move ahead quickly. The city maintained control and could make money off it right away with a large customer waiting. The negative is that people perceive the fiber being built with city funds, but it worked! They had a utility, an income plan, a customer, so why not do it? They can lease the fiber to anyone, so they are not bound to only one customer, but anyone who wants it or needs it. Awesome! Learn more at https://www.gru.com/GRUComFiberOptics.aspx.

Santa Monica, Ca built out their network without a municipal department. They did it by connecting public facilities then expanding from there. They have a dig once policy, and when someone would dig, they would lay fiber. Learn more at http://ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/santa-monica-city-net-fiber-2014-2.pdf. They took the slow approach, one that would not have any upfront costs but would remain steady and efficient.

Partial

Usually a public-private partnership, PPP, that the city supports and endorses, but the private partner will be the one doing the heavy lifting and running the business. This would rely heavily on the partner, and the city would give complete support and take some of the credit, but the private business would take the profits. Partnerships matter here more than anywhere. If the partner is an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or a nonprofit, they need to be sure they can do what they say they can do. It matters big time and reputations are key.

ISPs are everywhere, not all of them look good, but many of them provide broadband to the home or local business. They often are rooted in the community if they are local and they want to succeed. However, not all of them do, I’ll point that out farther down.

If you wonder about the nonprofit, I will give you an example of one that I worked on personally. In York, Pa, there is an organization called Crispus Attucks Association that sponsored an initiative to connect the local schools up to wireless broadband. While it went well, they are a shining example of a roll out to the schools in York County. This was one of the first of its kind. While it was later replaced with fiber, it’s an example of how a nonprofit took the lead to deploy broadband. This was over 10 years ago. Gigabit was not thought to be cost-effective back then.

Westminster, Md, is an example of how the community knew they need to do something to attract people from the cities of DC and Baltimore out to their rural area. Beautiful and scenic, but far from major highways. They knew they needed broadband, and decided on fiber.They hooked up with Ting, https://ting.com/blog/next-ting-town-westminster-md/, who was a smaller ISP eager to roll out fiber. The city looked at the fiber as infrastructure, like a building or bridge, seeing it as a city asset and letting Ting manage the operations and customer service and sales. The city has an asset, but little risk and they are not running the day-to-day business, Ting is.

South Portland, Me, laid out $150,000 upfront (http://www.southportland.org/files/7514/0682/8622/06_-_ORDER_12_-_Bid_for_dark_fiber_infrastructure.pdf) to build fiber and chose GWI, https://www.gwi.net/about/ to build it. GWI will build it and run it and give 5% of the revenue back to the city.

Cleveland, Oh, decided to work with a nonprofit called OneCommunity, http://www.onecommunity.org/big-changes-onecommunity-evolves/ who is rolled out the network and is continuing to expand into other communities to increase the reach of broadband across Ohio. They are receiving support from the US Economic Development (EDA) Grant, https://www.eda.gov/grants/, continuing the work.

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Facilitator

Where the city supports the rollout, maybe offers some rules and regulations that make it easier to get started and deploy, but otherwise, it hands off. Cities can still play a part in broadband development if they have companies in their area willing to take charge and make things happen.

East Lansing, Mi, has created the “Gigabit Ready” project which pulled in many groups like Michigan State University, Lansing Economic Act Partnership, various nonprofits, commercial property managers, and anyone else who would sign up. The goal was to roll out gigabit broadband, rather obvious, right? What did they do? They looked at the LEED program and thought, let’s do that for gigabit access. This lead to the creation of the Gigabit Certified Building Program, http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2012/07/msu_lansing_on_track_for_high_speed_internet, to set guidelines and requirements for buildings to add gigabit broadband. This helped Spartan-Net, (taken from the Michigan State Spartans I assume), to partner with DTN Management Co so they could roll out broadband across East Lansing and beyond!

Louisville, KY, worked with Louisville Fiber to create a website that allowed people to request gigabit service across Louisville. Why? So that lawmakers could see the need for speed, and it worked! Using the addresses they gathered, they built a layout of where the heaviest concentration was showing local officials the need. Louisville gave 20-year franchise agreements to BGN Networks, SiFi, and FiberTech. It also helped Louisville to be chosen as a potential Google Fiber City, (which means very little now).

College Station, TX, took a different approach. They put out an RFP to test the market. I personally hate this because when you’re on the other side, you do a lot of work that goes nowhere, but it served the city well because they got what they wanted. Suddenlink responded by promising to put in $250,000,000 into upgrading their network to make it gigabit capable, http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/GigaSpeed-Internet-Soon-to-be-Offered-in-BCS-276059641.html. Suddenlink got scared of having the government compete, so they got off their lazy ass and did something. College Station could motivate these guys into action! It all worked out for the residents.

In North Carolina, the NCNGN, North Carolina Next Generation Network, formed a group of universities and cities. Wake Forest, University of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State got together to work with Carrboro, Cary, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh to make this happen. This is a large group and has deep resources in knowledge, data, and money. Who saw this as an opportunity? AT&T moved in and started deploying fiber. Then, not to be left behind, Frontier Communications started their deployment. Finally, RST Fiber got rolling as well. Then Google started to deploy. Now you have all the competition to make it happen and affordable.

Connecticut did something similar where 46 communities all got together to host a gigabit conference to share their vision to become the first Gigabit state, https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/01/16/connecticut-could-be-first-gigabit-state2/.

To be continued! 

 

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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.

The Dallas Smart City Case Study

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What are some smart city use cases? Well, here is Dallas. This is from my upcoming book on Smart City Use Cases.

You have been asking for smart city examples and what is in each smart city. Here is an example. This is from a new book to be released very soon called, Smart City Use Cases. We are alwaysTower Safety for all your safety training! looking for real-world smart city examples. They are out there so why not collect many of them into a book? We all want to see what’s being done, well, here it is, one example. It is an overview but gives you an idea of what Dallas is doing.

Dallas

Of course, we all know where Dallas is, quite a city, in the heart of Texas. The larger part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Home to over 1.2 million people.

I have been in that area for work over 15 years ago. It is a beautiful area. One that I really enjoy working in and love visiting. I would recommend anyone going there for to stay for vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, they have their share of problems, like any city. They deal with traffic, crime, growth issues, and struggle to get people to live in the city limits. Not only that, but Texas has no state income tax, which is awesome! Let’s compare, the California state income tax is

over 9% and is as complicated as the federal income tax. That means you don’t have to give a chunk your paycheck to the state government each payday. A nice perk for living in Texas, specifically Dallas.

Sorry, I digress, why do we notice Dallas as a smart city? Well, they are actively moving into that area. They partnered with AT&T to move ahead with smart city innovation.  They created the Dallas Innovation Alliance. It is their job to bring innovation to Dallas.

While I am not clear on what they mean by innovation, they do point out that they want to bring smart tech to the city and improve the connections. In 2016 they release a small online publication explaining what they intend to do and how they intend to do it, It explains how they are converting streets to smart lighting using LED lights and installing sensors to track air quality and crowd noise. There it is, the special sensors that go above and beyond smart lighting. The sensors sense air quality. Sensors that detect noise. These are what makes the poles so smart.

They mention the digital kiosks, again, these are the smart keystones of the city because they are symbolic of the smart city progression.

They mention network connectivity and specify the fiber build out and the addition of cellular in the city. They also mention public Wi-Fi which is what the citizens associate with anytime connections.

Finally waste management. They have plans in place to have solar-powered trash compactors for collection throughout the city.

Smart parking to allow available spaces to be monitored and broadcast to people looking for spaces. This should ease traffic congestion if people use the apps.5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

All of this is going to be made possible with the apps that connect all the information to the end-user. That is the key! Using a common app to allow for all of the sensors information to make the information useful. Installing all of this stuff is one thing, to make it accessible to the people that need it is another. Who needs it?

  • Open parking spaces – the drivers and city planners
  • Live video – police, fire, city planners, and the public
  • Air sensors – police, fire, and city planners
  • Noise sensors – police, city planners
  • Waste management – Waste department, city planners.
  • Broadband access – the public, everyone else.

Do you see who needs this the most, the city planners? They should be using this data to improve the city. Each year they should evaluate the data and create a new plan for development based on what they learn. It’s not just what they see, but what’s missing as well. They need to take it all into account. Make use of the data Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!provided to them to improve and eliminate. Then they will have a cost-effective city that is on a positive growth track.

Who is a major partner in this venture? Dallas is working with AT&T to make this happen. AT&T and the DIA have created the “Smart Cities Living Lab” to understand how the changes will improve the city. This lab lets them see how to use intelligent LED lighting. They are testing the kiosks, specifically with the CIVIQ kiosk to understand how to build the Interactive Digital WayPoint, which is a model for the CIVIQ kiosk and really cool. They have been testing sensors with Ericsson. The Living Lab is pretty cool, but eventually, it has to go live.

 

To see more on Dallas go to:

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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!

 

 

 

 

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Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

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.

 

It’s not an Interactive Kiosk. It’s a Smart City Hub!

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This is a chapter from my upcoming book about Smart City use cases.

It’s a good overview of the kiosk and how it is transforming major cities. This interactive kiosk will be the keystone of any smart city because it’s visible to people in the city. They can’t see the fiber or the cell sites or the Wi-Fi hotspots. They can see and interact with.Tower Safety for all your safety training! It’s pretty nice how they can appreciate it like the Wi-Fi.

It’s not a kiosk! It’s the keystone to any smart city. A digital, interactive, video kiosk that you may see in a very large mall. It’s something that you think could not be outside, yet they are, and they earn revenue for the city. They are a beautiful piece of street furniture that we all notice and admire.

What can a kiosk do for a smart city? An interactive kiosk placed downtown can do a lot. As I said, it’s the keystone of the smart city. It’s a beacon of what the city has to offer. People walking around the city can see them stand out, they can see ads on them for movies, local restaurants, and local retailers. They can then walk up to it and

touch it to get directions to the nearest business. They can find the nearest bus stop, subway access, and cab stop. They could ask it where to go to eat for a specific type of restaurant. They could interact with it in a quick and convenient way that may not be so easy on their smartphone. It’s really a fun device.

What can it do for the city other than being the beacon of interactive public service to citizens and tourists? It can bring income to the city by adding Wi-Fi, getting paid for advertising, housing small cells, housing fiber hubs, be the smart parking meter interface, be the bike rental interface, and allow locals to download coupons to the nearest businesses.

Let’s not forget the emergency aspects. The kiosk can have sensors for air quality, gun detection, noise detection, and the ever important 911 push button interface with full video and possibly the control for lights around it. Push the 911 button, and the video feed goes live along with all the lights around it so that the 911 operator can see and record everything real time! Emergency dispatch loves this thing when they are used properly.

In New York City, they deployed 7,500 digital kiosks for 2 reasons, to allow users to access the internet and to deploy Wi-Fi for people on the street. This was no accident. It was something that people can see, touch, and use. It’s something to identify that the city wants to interact with citizens. While it didn’t always have a good reputation, it is a great way to show people how smart your city really is.

London did the same thing with LinkUK kiosks. It’s really a great concept. Both cities replaced their payphones with something very modern and attractive. What a great idea.

Kiosks are gaining popularity because they serve so many functions. They help visitors to find their way around and see what’s happening 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsin that part of the city. They are street furniture that can house not only Wi-Fi but small cells. It can be a fiber hub. It could have wireless backhaul that connects to a fiber center at a building. The possibilities are all there. They also house applications for local businesses to track customers. Cameras and 911 call buttons can be added for public safety. They can be real-time alerts for Amber alerts, weather alerts, or evacuation notices if ever needed. All because it has a connection to a NOC and a big interactive screen for people to see. Don’t forget that it can bring in revenue from advertising.

When thinking of how to spread the news of your smart city, think about the foot traffic and take it from there.

The key to getting these deployed was the partnership between businesses and cities. They worked together. There is a way to make money off of these devices with advertising, nation and local. Also with apps, data analytics, and small cell rental.

The other way to fund digital kiosks is with public safety funds. What a great way to promote them, in the name of public safety for alerts, video surveillance and 911 call buttons. Think about it. One platform can be the e911 NOC’s link to the city.

Funding is always the issue, so the fact these things can generate revenue is amazing and very attractive. You just need to plan ahead. It’s being done today.

Revenue generation can be done several ways. Movie trailers are a big source of revenue where there is a large amount of traffic, larger cities. But let’s not forget the local businesses, they can advertise as Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!well. Can you imagine the local business putting up an add for people walking on the street letting them know of the specials they will have in the next 2 hours? Maybe that happy hour starts in 15 minutes, a digital kiosk can put that out there in real time so that someone walking by can eat or drink at their fine establishment. Talk about targeted advertising. Let’ not forget about the data the kiosk can capture, the Wi-Fi hotspot it can provide, small cell rental it could house, be a fiber hub, provide apps to the people walking by. Even as a billboard for street traffic or the payment hub for parking meters or bike rental.

It’s going to be a game changer and one that is already rolling out to several cities and universities across the world. Many malls have these in because the maps are very localized. They also offer information for the people looking at it to get apps to their smartphone in real time, then the kiosk becomes part of the smartphone and more data can be tracked in real time across town or the mall. That really expands the reach of the kiosk beyond the spot it is planted. That’s why cities are dropping dozens across their cities, like Dallas, Kansas City, NYC, and more.

Learn more here:

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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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!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

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

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

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.

 

How would you Initiate a Smart City Plan?

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How would you Initiate a Smart City Plan? What are some typical smart city approaches? I think I have a quick summary of what is out there. I added this to my upcoming book, Smart City Use Cases, which I think will cover many of the smart city rollouts that have already happened. How they approached it, and why they did it.

The thing that I see, in most cases, is that cities have a typical approach which stems from a few motivational factors.

First, what problem are you going to solve? Start with the end in mind.

Next, you need money, grant money is a big one that cities look for. You may base your problem around the grant money, and that’s OK because it will get your teams moving into problem-solving mode.

Then, future proof. This is critical to sustain your initiatives and have them seen in a positive light. You want your legacy to be a great thing, something that can be built on, not replace right away. You also want something that residents and local businesses appreciate.

Solve Problems

This means that cities need a service, so they incorporate it into smart city services. This helps with the publicity and buy in. One thing you learn about government and large companies, you need to buy in. How do you get buy-in? You make it popular, sexy, and build it up as something you can’t live without.Tower Safety for all your safety training!

This is where the smart city play becomes a necessity. If the city has a garbage problem, they could just hire people to pick up the garbage, or maybe they could create a high-tech solution which may cost more now, but in the long run, it is automated and has lower maintenance costs than hiring 100 new people to do the same thing. It won’t be much more CapEx, but it will be lower OpEx over the long run, AND it will be labeled as a smart city service! We all know that smart city services are sexy, so why not own it!

Grant Money

If there is grant money, cities look at winning it, and they go after it. Not all, but if they think they have shot, it is a great way to get

started. The federal government, in the US, handed out money for contests they started in 2015. It was a great way to spark interest. Cities had several options to get the money, but it wasn’t all about the money! They got exposure, publicity, and partners. That’s right, the smart people who wanted a smart city got some smart partners. The feds did a lot to make this happen, and they knew it would spark the economy to create a new industry, the smart city industry.

Columbus, Ohio, won the department of transportation’s challenge which gave them $140M USD in grant money! Awesome for Columbus, a great place to visit and a smart city run by smart people. They get money for the autonomous vehicle research, battery research, putting in charging stations, and a healthy check to upgrade their public transportation systems. So radical that they get a $140M head start in all the other cities. Learn more at https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/23/columbus-ohio-officially-winner-of-dot-smart-city-challenge-and-140-million-in-innovation-grants/ if you’re interested.

We all know this is about the services that are coming, but if the feds would not have gotten involved, then it would not have come to the forefront. I have a list of cities below but let’s look at what companies jumped on the bandwagon.

  • AT&T – they started an entire smart city division with services and IOT planning, end to end.
  • Nokia – they have so many smart city strategies that your head will spin.
  • Ericsson – they moved into this because it has so many synergies with what they are already doing.
  • Black and Veatch – it fits right into their game plan to deploy across any city.
  • Crown Castle Inc. – they see the small cell and fiber opportunities here, they know it’s an opportunity.
  • Microsoft – actually, if you look back in history, Bill Gates saw the smart home 20 years ago, and it’s just now becoming mainstream. Microsoft sees the potential for more software and services for smart city applications. They see the huge payback.
  • Amazon – you read it right, Amazon. You see the cloud will be a huge part of the smart city backbone, so Amazon is on the cutting edge for cloud services. Also, they see value in the drone delivery, although who knows if they will pursue actual mass drone deployment. They also want people connected 24/7 so said people could purchase from Amazon 24/7. (I hope people buy my books 24/7!)
  • Apps companies because they see opportunity when people are connected. Look at how the smartphone changed the world and added many new businesses where people can use an app to make their lives better, or worse depending on your perspective.
  • Public safety, meaning police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and all the companies that supply them. Public safety needs You know, live video needs cameras and broadband, emergency workers need real-time connectivity wherever they are. Do you see the dots connecting? Do you get it? Broadband provided by the internet access provider, fiber by suppliers, rolled out by deployment teams, parts provided by suppliers, designed by engineers, made useful by apps and programs and wireless connectivity so that emergency workers have access where they are, not back at the dispatch center only. Do you see the dots connecting?
  • Any local tech business in that city will be a winner, they can participate, or they can offer new services based off of what the city is offering.

 

Future Proofing

The need to future proof will help smart city growth. Most cities want to retain their identity, and that is great. However, San Antonio didn’t just keep the Alamo and forget about expanding the city or growth or try to attract sports and business to their area. They know that you need to hold on and preserve history, but you also need to add high-tech services to grow the business.

Hence, future proofing will be a key element to any city. They want to do two major things, attract business and residential growth, the two should be looked at as one), AND they want to become a safe city with public safety a prime focus. All of this adds up to new services and will be the foundation for growth. Future proofing will be a key element for any city if they want to become a player in the world economy.

I would use the California cities like San Diego, Chula Vista, San Jose, Long Beach, and so much more I missed. They know that they need to be innovative and attract business. They can’t rely on the state, who has a very high-income tax, to attract people to the state, they know they must be innovative. When I look at them, I am 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsimpressed by what they have done and the approach they all have taken. They inspire me to remain motivated in this area.

I also look at Kansas City, often overlooked, but not to be outdone by anyone. They have come a long way and continue to expand. Kansas City has added interactive kiosks, broadband, and Wi-Fi so that for years to come residents and tourist alike can enjoy it and appreciate all that KC has to offer. They know that it will build off the foundation they put in.

When I visit any of the cities mentioned above, I truly appreciate all the services, connectivity, and beauty of each one. Each city makes me feel safe and connected.

Resources:

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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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!

 

 

 

 

SOW Training Cover

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

 

Putting together your smart city tech solutions, planning, development, and more….TechFecta! Guiding you to a better plan through consulting!

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.