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Digging Into Erie, Pa.'s Smart City Plans

This is what getting smarter could mean for the city of Erie, Pa. Free high-speed public Wi-Fi might be used to alert citizens in the event of an emergency such as a major snowstorm. State-of-the-art video surveillance equipment can alert law enforcement to potential threats and could be used to enhance security at city parks, outside schools and near entertainment venues. New light poles, equipped with energy-efficient LED bulbs, might help significantly reduce city government's energy costs. And data gleaned from modern traffic signal controls, coupled with information from new parking meter kiosks, could help officials determine the most efficient traffic routes and identify abundant park

Public-private partnerships seen as best bet to expand rural broadband

Rural communities need to band together and pool government and private funding to extend broadband internet service to their homes and businesses, experts said Tuesday. Broadband access was the first issue addressed during the annual Rural Day conference in Raleigh, and all agreed the future of many North Carolina counties – from student achievement to economic development – is both online and on the line. “From the mountains to the coast and everywhere in between, access to affordable high-speed internet is the defining economic development infrastructure issue of our time,” Rural Center Chief Executive Patrick Woodie said. “Broadband matters for our education systems, health systems, smal

San Jose-AT&T Small Cell Pact Important to Closing City's Digital Divide

San Jose, Calif.'s recent pact with AT&T to deploy small cells to upgrade its broadband connectivity is meant to lay the foundation for 5G as well as the forthcoming public safety network FirstNet. But the city also thinks it could serve as a landmark for other municipalities weighing similar decisions. The five-year agreement, which AT&T can extend for two additional periods of five years at applicable rates, was announced by San Jose on April 23. It will allow AT&T to install roughly 170 small cells around the city to supplant and improve upon coverage from its existing “macrocell” sites. This will yield improvements in existing LTE coverage “over which 70 percent to 80 percent of Internet

Surf City, NJ Tightens Wireless Communications Regulations

The Surf City Borough Council recently approved amending a zoning ordinance to require all wireless communication companies to appear before the Land Use Board prior to any improvements to its wireless infrastructure. “They (wireless companies) can’t just come in and start putting things on poles,” Mayor Francis Hodgson said, noting the amended ordinance strengthens the borough’s current rules and regulations. Intended to apply to all wireless companies, the ordinance covers an area specific to a Verizon Wireless application the council has been considering for nearly a year. Verizon Wireless wants to place network nodes, or radio boxes, in town as a means to improve connectivity for its mob

New York City Debuts Regional Mapping Tool

New York City’s planning department has launched a new mapping tool that harnesses population, housing and economic data and makes it available for exploring by the general public. The Metro Region Explorer offers trending data on the city’s greater metropolitan region: the five boroughs, upstate New York and Long Island, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. Collectively, the region is home to 23 million people and the largest foreign-born population in the nation. In a release, the city said that the Metro Region Explorer “will help New Yorkers understand the City’s relationships, including interdependencies, to areas outside our borders. It enables the public, planners and polic

Treasure Island, FL commissioners seek more control over wireless antennas

TREASURE ISLAND – While under state law there is little a city can do to regulate placement of 5G wireless antennas on utility poles, city commissioners would still like to exert some control on communications providers that install equipment in their right of way. During a work session on Tuesday, May 15, Paula Cohen, community improvement director, told commissioners “the whole telecommunications industry continues to change and it’s hard to keep up with innovations.” The telecommunications industry is now placing small booster antennas on existing poles to improve cell service. Therefore, the city is proposing changes to regulate those communications providers working within the city’s ri

FCC to Consider Additional 5G Spectrum; Getting Tough on Municipalities

The FCC will seek comment on making additional spectrum available in the 26 GHz and 42 GHz bands for flexible terrestrial wireless use in the third installment of its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, which makes millimeter wave spectrum, in the bands at or above 24 GHz available for 5G and the Internet of Things. “In our conversations with carriers and those that would like to enter the space, they have expressed a great demand for millimeter frequencies,” FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly told the audience during the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connectivity Expo, yesterday, in Charlotte. “We’re getting ready to auction high-band and push as much spectrum into the marketplace as poss

Closing the ‘Digital Divide’ Means Sizing It up First

WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would create a national standard for assessing whether rural mobile broadband services are “reasonably comparable” to those in urban areas. Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, was the lone no vote on the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act of 2018, which would require new Federal Communications Commission regulations 180 days after being signed into law. If passed, the FCC would craft the new benchmark using data on the average speed and signal strength of commercial mobile broadband service in the 20 most populous metropolitan areas. “This legislation will help us bridge that ‘digital divide’ like exists i

FCC considers small cell guidelines for states

Small cells are seen as the building blocks of 5G networks, and carriers say the most time-consuming part of deploying small cells is working with city governments and permitting authorities. Many different decision-makers within a jurisdiction may have input when it comes to small cells, and the result can be a series of lengthy negotiations. That's why some companies are pushing state lawmakers to pass legislation the pre-empts some local authority over small cell siting and fees. Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington are the 19 states that

Ohio Cities, carriers strike compromise over 5G technology

A year ago, it looked like the state Legislature was going to impose on Ohio communities a set of regulations that would severely limit a community's ability to control how telecommunications companies planted new telecommunications equipment along its main streets and in its residential neighborhoods. The equipment is needed for the next generation of wireless communications, called 5G, which, the industry says, will increase data speeds dramatically. This new technology will boost the data-carrying capacity not just of smartphones but of autonomous vehicles and other products that comprise the Internet of Things, as well as for in-home wireless internet connections that will offer competit

Smart Columbus Unveils System Geared Toward Addressing Transportation Needs

(TNS) — What if drivers of oversized trucks had an app showing all the low bridges in Franklin County? Or if a hungry family knew the location of the nearest open food bank? Or if senior citizens' locations and public-transportation routes could be analyzed together to find better ways for the older residents to get around? Smart Columbus — a partnership of businesses, local governments and research groups that oversees the city's work on the federal Smart Cities grant — is introducing on Thursday the initial version of a computer operating system meant to address these and other transportation-related challenges in the city. The system is called the Smart Columbus Operating System and is av

Verizon just announced Los Angeles will be the second city to receive 5G

Verizon plans to roll out 5G wireless home broadband internet services to consumers across four US cities by Q4 2018, starting with Los Angeles, and Sacramento, according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, per CNBC. The carrier plans to offer 5G with Fixed Wireless Access, which provides connectivity via wireless mobile networks rather than cable. By the time the network rolls out, Verizon expects to have over 1,000 cell sites up and operating on the global standard. With the fixed wireless network, Verizon is aiming to be the first US carrier to officially launch commercial 5G technology. The carrier plans to announce the remaining two cities to receive 5G later this year. The move into fixed 5G

Who’s Pursuing Residential 5G?

I’ve seen article after article over the last year talking about how 5G is going to bring gigabit speeds to residents and give them an alternative to the cable companies. But most of the folks writing these articles are confusing the different technologies and businesses cases that are all being characterized as 5G. For example, Verizon has announced plans to aggressively pursue 5G for commercial applications starting later this year. The technology they are talking about is a point-to-point wireless link, reminiscent of the radios that have been commonly used since MCI deployed microwave radios to disrupt Ma Bell’s monopoly. The new 5G radios use higher frequencies in the millimeter range a

Smart city from scratch is as hard as it sounds

As cities across the country attempt to integrate smart technology into their infrastructure, some communities are starting from scratch. Developments near Toronto, Boston and Phoenix will create neighborhoods laden with smart technology — like micro-grids for electricity and all-in-one sensors for noise, light and air quality — from the ground up. In the process, local governments are reckoning with familiar issues, including data collection, civic inclusion and bureaucratic hangups, in ways that contemporary "dumb" cities haven't experienced. These planned developments, which typically incorporate public-private partnerships and rely on big data for key decisions, demand careful attention

Montgomery County makes it easier to install small-cell antennas on utility poles

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday made it easier for wireless Internet companies to install new equipment on utility poles in commercial and mixed-use areas but continued restricting new cell structures in residential zones. The changes came as wireless companies say they need more leeway to boost Internet speeds via the coming 5G network, which is composed of smaller antennas closer together and closer to the ground than on the traditional much larger cell towers. The debate had raised concerns among some residents about the proliferation of ugly poles and the potential health impacts. Under the new law, which passed 9-0, companies may put new equipment on existing utility poles or r

6 Pilots the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative May Deploy

The Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative launched Monday and plans to establish pilot programs addressing mobility gaps in Michigan’s largest city, a place notorious for being difficult to get around without a car. Detroit’s public transit is consistently ranked among the worst in the U.S., which was cited as a reason why the area didn’t make the cut for Amazon’s HQ2. A public-private partnership involving both the city and state governments, the initiative aims to increase access to public transit for residents headed to work or health services, improve traffic congestion and parking, make roads safer for all travel modes and boost the use of electric vehicles. Detroit’s central business

Georgia Lawmakers Take On Small Cell Wireless Technology

A group of Georgia lawmakers meets this week to discuss how to roll out small cell wireless technology without robbing cities of the ability to exert local control. Think of small cells as little wireless hot spots that fill in coverage gaps from larger cell towers. Telecommunications companies say installing small cells on things like utility poles and street lights would help them roll out 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. Cities worry that would come at the expense of local control over where small cells would be installed and how they’d be regulated. “Local governments do not like the idea of being told that they’ve got to put up poles wherever the providers want to put the

AT&T, San Jose Sew Up Model Small Cell Deal

AT&T and the city of San Jose pulled off a major feat late last month. In a new agreement, the network operator agreed to pay the city approximately $5 million over a maximum 15-year period to access public assets like light poles throughout the region for the deployment of approximately 170 small cells. AT&T will make additional payments to San Jose for staffing upgrades to speed up local permitting processes. The telecom company will pay an upfront fee of $850,000 to fund new public works staff to help specifically with small cell permitting transactions, and another $1 million to help improve the city's permitting processes as a whole. The deal is a coup for both sides because not only do

Local governments can get smart cities funding if they know where to look

It's a major challenge to identify sure outcomes for smart city projects, and the uncertainty can keep elected officials from investing public funds in them. But the projects become a much easier sell if an agency can find alternative funding methods, speakers said Tuesday at a smart cities conference. At a roundtable discussion at Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, California, speakers outlined five of those methods: Monetizing infrastructure Revenue sharing Monetizing data Fee and fare collection Cost savings But a tidy list wasn’t what the room came for. A few dozen local government officials and industry representatives attended the roundtable — tucked away upstairs in Room

Opposition to wireless tower sways planners

Objections raised over placing an AT&T wireless facility on Washington Street convinced Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) members to unanimously oppose the request at their May 3 meeting. The advisory decision is a recommendation to the San Diego County Planning Commission. The vote taken was 0 in favor and 9 against with Casey Lynch recusing himself because he works for AT&T on cellular projects and has a financial interest in the topic and Frank Lucio recusing himself because he lives near the site. About 50 people attended the RCPG meeting to hear the item presented. Of those, two spoke in favor and 10 speakers voiced concerns with the proposed 35-foot faux eucalyptus tree, a roughly

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