X

Connect (X)

Tag Archives: Mobilitie

Partnerships with Cities Lead to Faster, Easier Small Cell Permit Approval

By Don Bishop, Executive Editor, Assoc. Publisher, AGL Magazine

Early involvement with city officials to share small cell plans and designs before submitting permit applications helps to speed deployment.


Caliento

Video is the largest technology difference spurring wireless infrastructure growth over the last several years, according to Jason Caliento, executive vice president of network strategy at Mobilitie. That is not surprising, considering that every grandparent expects a daily update on junior on his or her cell phone, and teenagers now routinely watch feature length movies on their phones. Caliento creates partnerships with cities, venues and carriers to design and build advanced wireless solutions that can handle this traffic.

Mobilitie owns, operates and has deployed billions of dollars’ worth of wireless infrastructure, making it the largest privately held owner of wireless infrastructure and one of the largest wireless service firms in the United States.

Increasing consumption of video and other high-bandwidth applications led Mobilitie to focus on finding how to participate in that the heterogeneous network of towers, small cells, in-building wireless systems and fiber-optic cable routes that connect wireless devices with the internet, Caliento said. He spoke at the AGL Local Summit in Newport Beach, California, on Jan. 24.


“Mobilitie’s position has always been that application fees and recurring fees for using space in the cities’ rights of way needs to be tied to what it costs the cities.”
— Jason Caliento, executive vice president of network strategy at Mobilitie
(Photo J. Sharpe Smith)


“As the iPhone developed and as our use of Netflix and other video-based applications continues to grow, wireless carriers faced a big problem,” Caliento said. “It is important for our business and our strategy to participate in the entire wireless infrastructure ecosystem to ensure that customer requirements are taken care of seamlessly.”

Uploading Traffic

Mobilitie owns the distributed antenna system (DAS) network at Arrowhead Stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs played the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 11 in a divisional playoff football game. “The traffic on our DAS in the last couple of minutes of the game was all upload,” Caliento said. “Fans wanted to show that they were at the game and wanted to send video highlights. That is an example of how we interact with devices and social media.”

Towers Still Have Value

Even with growth in DAS and small cells, Mobilitie continues to build telecommunications towers. Caliento said towers offer the most efficient way to deploy broadband wireless services. He said that rural areas especially rely on towers for network services, including backhaul. Some challenges include accessing adequate construction capital and making sure multiples are in line, he said, adding that good towers always will have value. “Multiple” refers to a number used to multiply a tower’s cash flow to establish the tower’s value. Higher prices for towers imply higher multiples.

DAS remains a robust business for Mobilitie, Caliento said, although it presents different challenges than it did a few years ago. He said the challenges come with fans wanting to upload and download information and with the use of virtual reality video applications. Meanwhile, the wireless carriers find that they are unable to fund all of the DAS development, Caliento said. Outside of large public venues that are fairly unique, he said, DAS development includes commercial buildings and large public spaces.

Nuanced Dealmaking

Whether landlords pay for DAS equipment and installation comes down to what Caliento called nuanced deal-making based on specific needs. “Most enterprises today have a rise of mobile work applications,” he said. “They want their people to be enabled with really good cellular reception. Many enterprises will ask for in-building wireless service as a condition of a lease. When that happens, you will see more DAS development flow from enterprise demand. How that gets paid for winds up being the question.”

A large player in the small cell business, Mobilitie has built more than 1,000 small cells in Los Angeles and several hundred in San Diego and Santa Monica, California, Caliento said. He said Mobilitie builds small cells throughout the United States, from the largest cities to the smaller cities. In developing small cells, Caliento said what has been successful for Mobilitie is collaborating with the cities and making public-private partnerships, especially in the larger cities.

Another step that leads to successful deployment is communicating with city officials about small cell height, location and design early on in the permit application process.

How much cities charge to process permit applications plays a role in how wireless carriers use their capital most efficiently. If the carriers cannot be capital-efficient, Caliento said, their businesses fall apart.

“Mobilitie’s position has always been that application fees and recurring fees for using space in the cities’ rights of way needs to be tied to what it costs the cities,” Caliento said. “When those fees are in line, that’s the right public policy.”
Caliento discussed the small cell order adopted by the FCC on Sept. 26, 2018, that addressed what fees cities may charge. He said that opinions differ on the FCC’s position. “The dollar amounts the FCC specified may be proper for some cities, but in other cities, that’s not the case,” he said. “The fees need to be higher because the city’s true costs of processing are higher.” Mobilitie, he said, pays the fees when it is clear that they are in line with the cities’ costs.

Early Communication Is Key

Caliento said Mobilitie has achieved success by ensuring early communication with city officials about permit applications and the payment of fees. “There are still places where I’m confounded by resistance, where there are cities that resist even the notion of outside investment,” he said. “But that is a smaller and smaller population each year that we do this.”

Sometimes resistance comes from a specific leader, Caliento said, or from a specific group that is vocal. Mentioning Southern California because he was speaking in Newport Beach, he said the region has communities with robust business environments, and they clamor for advanced services from wireless carriers. He said resistance is what led the carriers to push the matter with the FCC, resulting in the small cell order.

“We will see it play out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” Caliento said. “But in terms of bringing this back to the business fundamentals, we’ll be committed to building small cells throughout the United States in partnership with the cities.”


The next two AGL Local Summits are scheduled for Sept. 26 in Washington, D.C., and Nov. 14 in Dallas. Visit www.aglmediagroup.com/localsummits

Partnerships with Cities Lead to Faster Small Cell Permit Approval

By Don Bishop, Exec. Editor, Assoc. Publisher, AGL Magazine

Early involvement with city officials to share small cell plans and designs before submitting permit applications helps to speed deployment.


Video is the largest technology difference spurring wireless infrastructure growth over the last several years, according to Jason Caliento, executive vice president of network strategy at Mobilitie. That is not surprising, considering that every grandparent expects a daily update on junior on his or her cell phone, and teenagers now routinely watch feature length movies on their phones. Caliento creates partnerships with cities, venues and carriers to design and build advanced wireless solutions that can handle this traffic.

Mobilitie owns, operates and has deployed billions of dollars’ worth of wireless infrastructure, making it the largest privately held owner of wireless infrastructure and one of the largest wireless service firms in the United States.

Increasing consumption of video and other high-bandwidth applications led Mobilitie to focus on finding how to participate in that the heterogeneous network of towers, small cells, in-building wireless systems and fiber-optic cable routes that connect wireless devices with the internet, Caliento said. He spoke at the AGL Local Summit in Newport Beach, California, on Jan. 24.


“Mobilitie’s position has always been that application fees and recurring fees for using space in the cities’ rights of way needs to be tied to what it costs the cities.”
— Jason Caliento, executive vice president of network strategy at Mobilitie
(Photo J. Sharpe Smith)


“As the iPhone developed and as our use of Netflix and other video-based applications continues to grow, wireless carriers faced a big problem,” Caliento said. “It is important for our business and our strategy to participate in the entire wireless infrastructure ecosystem to ensure that customer requirements are taken care of seamlessly.”

Uploading Traffic

Mobilitie owns the distributed antenna system (DAS) network at Arrowhead Stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs played the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 11 in a divisional playoff football game. “The traffic on our DAS in the last couple of minutes of the game was all upload,” Caliento said. “Fans wanted to show that they were at the game and wanted to send video highlights. That is an example of how we interact with devices and social media.”

Towers Still Have Value

Even with growth in DAS and small cells, Mobilitie continues to build telecommunications towers. Caliento said towers offer the most efficient way to deploy broadband wireless services. He said that rural areas especially rely on towers for network services, including backhaul. Some challenges include accessing adequate construction capital and making sure multiples are in line, he said, adding that good towers always will have value. “Multiple” refers to a number used to multiply a tower’s cash flow to establish the tower’s value. Higher prices for towers imply higher multiples.

DAS remains a robust business for Mobilitie, Caliento said, although it presents different challenges than it did a few years ago. He said the challenges come with fans wanting to upload and download information and with the use of virtual reality video applications. Meanwhile, the wireless carriers find that they are unable to fund all of the DAS development, Caliento said. Outside of large public venues that are fairly unique, he said, DAS development includes commercial buildings and large public spaces.

Nuanced Dealmaking

Whether landlords pay for DAS equipment and installation comes down to what Caliento called nuanced deal-making based on specific needs. “Most enterprises today have a rise of mobile work applications,” he said. “They want their people to be enabled with really good cellular reception. Many enterprises will ask for in-building wireless service as a condition of a lease. When that happens, you will see more DAS development flow from enterprise demand. How that gets paid for winds up being the question.”

A large player in the small cell business, Mobilitie has built more than 1,000 small cells in Los Angeles and several hundred in San Diego and Santa Monica, California, Caliento said. He said Mobilitie builds small cells throughout the United States, from the largest cities to the smaller cities. In developing small cells, Caliento said what has been successful for Mobilitie is collaborating with the cities and making public-private partnerships, especially in the larger cities.

Another step that leads to successful deployment is communicating with city officials about small cell height, location and design early on in the permit application process.

How much cities charge to process permit applications plays a role in how wireless carriers use their capital most efficiently. If the carriers cannot be capital-efficient, Caliento said, their businesses fall apart.

“Mobilitie’s position has always been that application fees and recurring fees for using space in the cities’ rights of way needs to be tied to what it costs the cities,” Caliento said. “When those fees are in line, that’s the right public policy.”

Caliento discussed the small cell order adopted by the FCC on Sept. 26, 2018, that addressed what fees cities may charge. He said that opinions differ on the FCC’s position. “The dollar amounts the FCC specified may be proper for some cities, but in other cities, that’s not the case,” he said. “The fees need to be higher because the city’s true costs of processing are higher.” Mobilitie, he said, pays the fees when it is clear that they are in line with the cities’ costs.

Early Communication Is Key

Caliento said Mobilitie has achieved success by ensuring early communication with city officials about permit applications and the payment of fees. “There are still places where I’m confounded by resistance, where there are cities that resist even the notion of outside investment,” he said. “But that is a smaller and smaller population each year that we do this.”
Sometimes resistance comes from a specific leader, Caliento said, or from a specific group that is vocal. Mentioning Southern California because he was speaking in Newport Beach, he said the region has communities with robust business environments, and they clamor for advanced services from wireless carriers. He said resistance is what led the carriers to push the matter with the FCC, resulting in the small cell order.

“We will see it play out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,” Caliento said. “But in terms of bringing this back to the business fundamentals, we’ll be committed to building small cells throughout the United States in partnership with the cities.”


 

Industry Airs Small Cell Grievances, Suggests Solutions

March 16, 2017

By J. Sharpe Smith

Editor, AGL eDigest

This is the first in a two-part series covering comments in the FCC proceeding “Streamlining Deployment of Small Cell Infrastructure by Improving Wireless Facilities Siting Policies; Mobilitie Petition for Declaratory Ruling (WT Docket No. 16-421).”  First we examine some of the key problems voiced by OEMs, carriers and small cell providers. Next, we will look at the municipal point of view.

J. Sharpe SmithThe wireless industry voice its frustration with processes in place at municipalities to regulate small cells in the public rights of way in comments filed the FCC’s streamlining small cell deployment proceeding, last week. Procedures that are sometimes confusing and other times duplicative, which extend the approval time for wireless facilities and make it less economical for the carriers, according to the comments.

T-Mobile described the current regulatory environment as a “web” of federal, state and local rules developed based on the macrocell environment. Nokia called municipalities processes “ill-defined and inefficient” said they yield “haphazard” results. Part of the problem, according to the OEM, is that many municipalities have not incorporated Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act, into their practices.

“The lack of clear procedures makes the application process much more difficult at the outset – it can be hard to know where to even start – let alone ultimately obtaining the required authorization to move forward,” Nokia wrote.

Jurisdictions’ inefficient processes are exacerbated by a lack of employees to process siting requests, which ends up “clogging the deployment pipeline,” Nokia wrote. Multiple review processes of different agencies within a jurisdiction can also slow the process and sow the seed of confusion.

Small cell deployments have also been delayed by moratoria, Crown Castle wrote.

ExteNet wrote that regulation by many local governments regularly “prohibits or effectively prohibits” the provision of service. The company said its distributed network system applications are subjected to formal zoning process that are not required of other entities deploying on poles in the rights of way.

Unfair Fees Threaten Small Cell Deployments

The wireless industry fully supported Mobilitie’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling, writing that the fees charged for use of the ROW are many times are not in alignment with what they thought was fair.

Crown Castle wrote that while it has cooperated with municipalities on hundreds of small cell deployments, it too has run into instances where it felt discriminated against by what it called unreasonable fees.

“Other jurisdictions, meanwhile, discriminate against small cell installations in the rights-of-way while allowing, if not encouraging, other utilities to install equipment that frequently is larger than small cell equipment,” Crown Castle wrote.

Part of the problem is the fees don’t seem to be based on the costs of approving applications or maintaining the rights-of-way, according to Crown Castle. T-Mobile echoed sentiments by Mobilitie that some municipalities seek to recover the market rate of ROW instead of compensation for their expenses.

As a result, these fees can make small cell deployments expensive. Nokia complained that site “inspection fees” may be charge in excess of $3,000 per-location threaten the economics of small cell deployments.

What’s the Fix?

The Wireless Infrastructure Association offered several ways that that FCC could use existing law to help municipalities to improve their ROW processes.

WIA called on the FCC to guide municipalities in treating small cell providers in a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory manner by clarifying Sections 253 and 332 of the Telecom Act.

The FCC should state that a municipality must not inhibit a company’s ability to compete in a fair and legal regulatory environment, according to the WIA filing. Local governments should not have “unfettered discretion over applications” and require “lengthy or onerous application processes.”

“Further, the Commission should explicitly declare that imposition of regulations and requirements on small wireless facility deployments that are not imposed on other telecommunications equipment installed on poles in the public rights-of-way are a barrier to entry,” WIA wrote, “and that such discriminatory imposition of requirements is not a reasonable or competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory management of the public rights-of-way.”

Commenting about the Mobilitie petition, WIA wrote that municipal fees imposed on small wireless facilities in the ROW must not be more those levied on other telecom equipment.

“Further, the Commission should declare that municipal fees are limited to recovery of the municipality’s actual cost of managing the occupation of the right-of-way by the small wireless facility network,” WIA wrote.

Mobilitie Partners With the City of Houston in Preparation for The Big Game

February 2, 2017 — Houston has been preparing for months if not years for the record-setting crowds caused by the Super Bowl, and views enhanced connectivity as an essential service throughout the City for major events as well as for everyday life.

“The City of Houston is committed to the advancement of wireless connectivity for all of its citizens and visitors, and particularly when we are a host city for visitors from around the globe,” said Lara Cottingham, Public Information Office for the Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, City of Houston. “We work closely with private sector companies like Mobilitie to bring investment to the City’s wireless infrastructure and meet the growing connectivity needs of our communities.”

Mobilitie has deployed small cells in the City of Houston, specifically targeting NRG Stadium and the immediate vicinity to enhance wireless network coverage and capacity for football fans and the surrounding neighborhood in preparation for the championship game.

“We are excited to be partnering with the City of Houston to deploy additional wireless infrastructure so fans can better enjoy the game and future events, without cellular congestion,” Christos Karmis, president of Mobilitie. “Small cells like what we have deployed in Houston are critical infrastructure for fans and visitors to upload photos, share experiences on social media, watch video, and get improved reception and service for other applications. Mobilitie is building thousands of small cells across the country, providing communities with improved wireless and broadband infrastructure to keep up with the increase in wireless demand and to help lay the foundation for the future 5G networks.”

Small cells being deployed to improve wireless carriers’ 4G performance and create the foundation for 5G, according to Karmis. Targeting specific areas, small cell infrastructure improves access to emergency services and is critical to addressing the digital divide by providing access in underserved areas. Mobilitie is deploying thousands of small cells throughout the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, and partners with city officials and permitting offices to develop small cells in locations that best serve a city’s residents and visitors.

“Mobilitie’s goal is to help bring greater wireless connectivity to cities in order to deliver a better mobile experience, spur innovation, and help communities bridge the digital divide. The installation of our small cells in Houston, and specifically near the site of the game, represents what Mobilitie is about: enhancing communities and providing premiere connectivity,” said Karmis.

Municipalities, Mobilitie have a Meeting of the Minds

October 11, 2016 —

By J. Sharpe Smith

Senior Editor
AGL eDigest

Municipalities across the country are making it clear: having a certificate from the public utilities commission and a desire to deploy a cell site in the public rights of way does not result in the ability to bypass local zoning ordinances.

Mobilitie promised that it would follow the local zoning regulations of the State of Connecticut, at a technical meeting late in September held by the Conn. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to discuss applications for “right-of-way utilization” that had been sent to numerous municipalities from Mobilitie.

The meeting was requested by the Office of Consumer Counsel, which had received calls from across the state by municipalities that were confused about Mobilitie’s correspondence. The company had sent letters indicating that it had selected sites for its 120-foot monopoles in the rights of way in the municipalities’ jurisdictions.

The City of Milford, Connecticut, was one of the municipalities that complained Mobilitie’s applications for the cell sites raised more questions than it answered.

“While it is impossible clearly to discern Mobilitie’s intent from its letter, two things are quite clear,” according to a letter from Milford to the Connecticut Siting Council. “First, Mobilitie has failed to properly ‘consult’ with the City, which must be accomplished 90 days prior to any application in accordance with the Statute. Second, the letter and attachments fail to satisfy the requirements of a technical report.”

In particular, a technical report must include a map of the area of need, existing surrounding facilities, alternate sites under consideration, location of nearby schools, analysis of potential aesthetic impact, mitigation of aesthetic impact and potential environmental impact.

At the meeting on the proposed utility infrastructure facilities, which was attended by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and Council of Small Towns in Connecticut, Mobilitie’s local attorney gave a brief presentation on the company’s plans in which he assured the audience that the company would abide by all the zoning laws and regulations. Later Mobilitie communicated that it plans to begin submitting applications by the end of the year.

Melanie Bachman, acting director of the Connecticut Siting Council attended the meeting and said, “It was necessary to have a meeting where everyone could come to the table to hear Mobilitie make that statement [that it would abide by the rules]. It alleviated a lot of concerns among the municipalities.”

Connecticut has a different regulatory system where it has a statewide entity, the Connecticut Siting Council, that grants approval for free-standing tower siting requests after consulting with the local municipalities. The jurisdiction belongs to the Siting Council if it is an attachment to an existing structure, a tower structure or an electric transmission line structure. If it is an attachment to an electric distribution line structure, it falls to the PURA. While an attachment to a light pole goes under the local municipality’s authority.

“You can’t blanket the state with applications to the municipalities for your deployments in the right of way,” Bachman said. “The analysis of jurisdiction [in Connecticut] has to do with the principal use of the existing structure to which they want to attach their equipment.

“We hope that Mobilitie got the message and when they do start submitting formal applications, they will approach it the appropriate way,” she added.

Minnesota Questions Mobilitie’s Right of Way Claims

Municipalities in Minnesota were also distressed by the Mobilitie correspondence, prompting the Minnesota Department of Commerce to send a letter to the company requesting that it stop asserting that it has authority from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that exempts it from local regulations in the public rights of way.

“The Department has consulted with PUC staff and we are aware of nothing in Minnesota statutes or rules that exempts a PUC-certificated carrier from the requirements of local government units concerning rights of way,” the letter read. “While Mobilitie holds a certificate of authority to provide local niche service … this does not give Mobilitie an exemption from the requirements of the local government units.”

The Department of Commerce and PUC received numerous complaints from Minnesota municipalities, indicating that representatives of Mobilitie are claiming that Mobilitie is not subject to right-of-way regulation by the Minnesota municipalities since Mobilitie holds a certificate of authority issued by the Minnesota PUC to provide telecommunications service.