Civic News
Internet / Municipal government

Another company wants to install cellphone antennae on Baltimore lightpoles

Crown Castle is pitching the city on its distributed antenna systems.

A rendering of ExteNet's antenna on a light pole. (Image courtesy of Baltimore City)

A second company is looking to deploy new antennae aimed to help improve wireless connectivity in Baltimore.
Virginia-based Crown Castle has a hearing before the city’s Planning Commission on Thursday that would grant the company a franchise to construct distributed antenna systems (DAS) around the city.

A Crown Castle proposal in San Francisco. (Via)

A Crown Castle proposal in San Francisco. (Via)

The antennae, which can be attached to light poles and utility poles, are designed to help “wireless providers eliminate coverage gaps and increase capacity needed for emerging and future services,” according to a company official. Crown Castle is not affiliated with a particular carrier, the official said.
“Because Crown Castle’s DAS systems are built for multiple wireless carriers, Crown Castle can help introduce or support competition that will help provide more wireless service choices and more competitive prices for wireless consumers,” the company official said.
The contract would grant Crown Castle a “non-exclusive franchise” agreement, which would allow the company to install the antennae on the public property. The service doesn’t cost taxpayers additional money.
In June, Chicago-based ExteNet asked the city for a similar franchise agreement.
Wireless companies are increasingly relying on DAS in heavily congested areas as the amount of people using cell phones and amount of data being consumed by those people grows. Along with moving onto city streets, the “small cell” antennae were part of a new wireless network that was installed at M&T Bank Stadium in time for the Ravens to open the 2015 season.
The Crown Castle hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at 417 E. Fayette St., 8th Floor.

Companies: City of Baltimore

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