Nope! Not in this business. The incentive auction fun continues, but there is not much to talk about due to the required quiet period, it is like waiting for a hurricane – you know it is coming, not when and how bad will it be and hopefully it will be a great outcome.
The 39-month timeline for the TV stations to rebuild facilities still seems completely out of touch with physical realities. Tea leaves indicate there may be pending FCC changes to prioritize the TV repacking (rebuilding, changing locations, changing towers and antennas).
This would free up the spectrum in large geographical areas, where it is more useful, such as rural, but not terribly dense urban areas where the lower 600 MHz spectrum is less useful. At is likely where it will also take longer for the TV repacking.
I have to give an official AGL shout out to NATE and specifically their Climber Connection video series. Search for “#ClimberConnection” on YouTube. NATE just continues to ratchet up the quantity, quality and scope of their message. Congratulations folks.
Of particular interest to all of us should be the new FAA rules on drones. The rules released on June 21st, very effectively adopt a common sense approach. They no longer require a company to file an exemption or to have the operator of a drone be a licensed pilot. A test will be required, along with TSA vetting. However, it appears everything can be done online. Fortunately, the one restriction we all really care about is included — no more 400 feet AGL limit. The vertical ceiling is now 400 feet above a structure. I’ll have to double check that but I’m sure we’ll do a detailed article shortly. But it sounds like everything we (the tower industry) could have hoped for!
Industry veteran and Round Hill, VA neighbor, Phil Larsen, President of Telecommunication Services at HAZON Solutions notes “I commend the FAA on all their efforts. The 107 Rule as it relates to commercial operations in the telecommunications industry was greatly needed. We can now reach the heights we need to fully identify real hazards and hopefully reduce injury or fatalities of our elevated workforce. The use of UAV’s can significantly reduce the amount of needless climbs by up to 40 percent, thus enhancing safety and increasing productivity. The 107 Rule is a great step forward and will greatly enhance the way companies are or should be doing their work, regardless of the industry.”
5G. It is all over the map – well, the spectrum map at least. The push is on at the FCC to identify the exact spectrum and standards bodies continue to work toward international harmonization of spectrum to assure a vibrant ecosystem for devices. Given the very high frequencies being discussed (24 GHz and higher), 5G will have the bandwidth (and subsequently the throughput) to provide fast services. The relatively small RF footprint works well to deliver capacity for dense networks. This is the urban and dense urban solution. Although it still a few years out; this will result in considerable additional site work in 2018 (or 2019, or 2020, or so).
SBA Communications just announced their plan for $700M in additional investment, while Vertical Bridge closed on $321M. Horizontal or vertical investment? I don’t really know. Obviously, playing on the names a bit. However, the question that will be interesting to see how it gets answered is where the investments will go. Traditional vertical towers, or DAS or fiber.
I’ve been accused of using this space as a blog space (you know who you are). I’m OK with that. I do keep my nose deep into what is going on, through all of the news sources. Yes, including our competition, of course, and our own newsletters as well as white paper presentations, webinars, industry events, etc.
In addition, I’m quite happy to continue to participate in the development of new technologies, including hardware, software and applications. So, yes, guilty as charged, this is my way of drawing attention to things I see going on in the industry that I believe are important.