Small Cell Deployment Challenges and Opportunities

The ePole is a small cell alternative for your utility!

Mobile operators are deploying small cells as a way to expand data capacity and extend coverage in their networks. Communities who desire this additional capacity and coverage would prefer existing utility and streetlights be replaced versus building new infrastructure in the municipal right of way. The challenge for utilities is deploying and servicing these small cells safely across their networks. However, there are great opportunities to be had with designing new standards that expedite the process. 

Small Cell Challenges

  • Due to the amount of small cell equipment being installed on existing utility poles and streetlights, standard joint use agreements do not adequately cover the utilities. Therefore, new joint use agreements will need to be executed;
  • Increased risk of unqualified personnel working in the electric space;
  • Small cell equipment attached to the pole effects the stability and strength of the pole, make-ready costs, safety and aesthetics; 
  • Utilities will come under pressure to perform the make-ready and to repair service outages in a timely manner as residents and businesses become more dependent on wireless communications. 

Small Cell Opportunities

  • By being proactive, the utility has the opportunity to create a standard for small cell installations that meets NESC, ANSI and TIA 222 REV G requirements. The ePole is a standardized design that can replace electric utility poles and street lights, meeting these requirements;
  • An ePole has a higher strength-to-weight ratio versus alternative wood, concrete or steel poles, reducing shipping, handling and installation costs;
  • Mobile operator equipment is safely stored inside a pole-mounted enclosure at the base of the ePole, eliminating the risk of unqualified personnel working near the electric space;
  • The ePole’s stealth design allows it to blend in with existing street lighting, which will appeal to local residents and businesses. 

Small cell deployments are happening. The ePole is an enabler to expedite the process and improve utility safety and support smart energy applications.