Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization driving universal cellular coverage, 5G Americas, the wireless trade association for the Americas advancing mobile services through LTE and beyond to 5G, and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leading association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of high-tech connectivity networks, have responded to the recent veto of a bill (SB 649) in California aimed at streamlining policies for small cell deployments.
The organizations stressed the social and economic benefits of the improved connectivity that small cells can provide and, despite this veto, remain committed to working to streamline processes and defining best practice in order to accelerate deployments both in California and across the United States.
The organizations promote the understanding, shared by the wider telecom industry, that small cells represent the most expeditious and cost-effective route to providing the hyperdense coverage necessary for future networks and advanced wireless services, including 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Given small cells’ low cost and small form factor, they can be deployed in large numbers quickly and unobtrusively in urban environments.
The flexibility of small cells has allowed them to be deployed in such diverse scenarios as underneath railway lines, attached to existing street furniture such as street lights, benches and trash cans and inside infrastructure that cellular signals have difficulty reaching.
SCF and TIA have agreed to priority areas where combined efforts can lead to meaningful progress, including: simplified regulatory environments, especially in cities, new approaches to enterprise deployment, including neutral host; common deployment frameworks that meet the needs of all stakeholders, and new architectures, such as virtualization, to enable flexible, efficient networks.
In September, they announced a far-reaching alliance to address two of the most important growth areas in connectivity – smart communities and smart buildings, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work on technical, commercial and regulatory solutions, including sharing of existing work and expertise and developing solutions to simplify and accelerate deployment of dense networks and in-building connectivity. The two bodies are now in the process of creating materials for municipalities to help ease the deployment process and make it easier for them to use small cells to enhance connectivity.
In addition, SCF has undertaken considerable work with 5G Americas to create detailed guidelines for simplifying the small cell deployment process and supporting the densification of networks in preparation for 5G. The work aims to raise awareness among the stakeholders, including equipment producers, operators, integrators, policy makers, and local administrations that are involved in the approval, acceptance and roll out of the small cells layers of the mobile networks.
“It is accepted by the wireless industry that small cells hold the key to adding coverage and capacity to today’s network, as well as providing a central building block for the 5G networks of tomorrow,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum. “As well as the practical considerations of providing networks capable of managing demand for services, enhanced networks built around small cells have the potential to be massively profitable to municipalities. We continue to work with our operator and industry membership, regulators and other organizations world-wide to help develop best practice in small cell deployment.”
“Small cell technologies are essential to promoting competition, improving service quality, making cutting-edge applications possible, and ensuring that all Americans have access to next-generation networks,” said Wes Johnston, CEO of TIA. “The information and communications technology (ICT) industry will continue working with network operators and regulators to help streamline deployments and ensure that customers can reap the benefits of these new technologies.”
“Streamlined cell siting regulations and processes are critical to the evolution of mobile wireless connectivity for society,” stated Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas. “5G will require a densification of the wireless networks to meet its full potential in connecting customers and cities to advanced applications and services in the United States.”