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October 2020

Scroll To Read Magazine

In This Issue

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From The Editor

Happy 120th Birthday!

According to RFS CEO Monika Maurer, few companies have a history of world firsts and inven...
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FirstNet

The FirstNet Network Expands Across New York

New York’s first responders are receiving a boost in their wireless communications with th...
International Towers workers climb atop a test tower the company built near the site of its new headquarters in Marana. - Source: International Towers
5G

Taking a Closer Look at 5G mmWave Deployment Strategies

U.S. wireless operators Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and AT&T Mobility own millimete...
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5G Security

The United States and Slovenia Sign Joint Declaration on 5G Security

The U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Slovenian foreign minister, Anze Logar, ...
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Security

China Focus: State Department Adds Five Lines of Effort to Clean Path Initiative

Speaking on Aug. 5 in the press briefing room at the U.S. State Department in Washington, ...
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5G

White House Boosts 5G With DoD Spectrum-sharing Agreement

An additional 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band radio-frequency (RF) sp...
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Business

WISP Success in CBRS Auction Good for Towers

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs), which previous survived on a diet of unlicens...
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5G Business

Workforce Development Prepares Contractor for Rising 5G Build-out

Speaking on Jan. 30 at the AGL Local Summit in Seattle, Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson Technol...
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Business

Knowing the Laws of the Land Critical to Cell Tower Siting

It wasn’t too long ago, the wireless industry was in its Wild West phase, with regional ca...
Illustration showing various poles. - Source: PortlandOregon.gov
Small Cells

Court Upholds Majority of Small Cell Order

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted in part, and denied in part...
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Business

Four Insidious Effects of a Mis-hire

The world’s innovators are calling for reinvention and transformation of human resources d...
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From The Editor

Happy 120th Birthday!

Congratulations to Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) on its 120th birthday anniversary!

According to RFS CEO Monika Maurer, few companies have a history of world firsts and inventions that date back to 1900. “We are very proud of our legacy and our groundbreaking innovation,” she said in a YouTube video.

A news release from RFS marking the occasion says that the company has been responsible for industry developments ranging from wire in 1900 to radiating cable for connectivity in tunnels and is currently working to ease the evolution to 5G wireless communications.

The company traces its beginning to German engineer Louis Hackethal. A commemorative video RFS produced says Hackethal invented the first insulated wire for telecommunications.

The company Hackethal-Draht-Gesellschaft in Hannover was created to make cables.

Throughout its history, RFS has been responsible for a number of key inventions in cable and antenna technology. These range from creating that first insulated wire for telecommunications in 1900, to designing in 1972, under the name KabelMetal, the first radiating cables to deliver connectivity in tunnels, which are used in 41 percent of metro rapid-transit train stations worldwide.

In 1983, the video explains, KabelMetal was part of mergers that led to the creation of Radio Frequency Systems.

This year, the company’s research-and-development (R&D) teams developed Dragonskin, the first standalone cable to meet the most stringent fire safety standards, while integrating 5G-ready capabilities across its entire portfolio.

The news release says the company has manufacturing sites, R&D centers and offices in 20 countries and deployments at some of the world’s most recognizable sites. In 2017, it delivered the broadcast solution that sits on top of the One World Trade Center overlooking New York City.

RFS has contributed articles to AGL Magazine and other magazines I edited going back to 1983. Just one example: RFS contributed articles that helped readers to install coaxial cable on towers and install connectors properly. Maybe one of their articles helped you in your job. The articles RFS contributed certainly helped me in my job, and my thanks to the company for that.

“At RFS, innovation is in our DNA,” Maurer said. “We are inventors, and we are focused on your future.”

Here’s to a wonderful future for RFS. 120 years, so far. Imagine that!

Don Bishop, executive editor and associate publisher, AGL Magazine

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FirstNet

The FirstNet Network Expands Across New York

New York’s first responders are receiving a boost in their wireless communications with the addition of purpose-built cell sites and other network enhancements statewide, according to information released by the First Responder Network (FirstNet) Authority, an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The FirstNet Authority (FA) said the new infrastructure also would bring increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety agencies. An FA statement said the FirstNet public safety broadband wireless network supports public safety agencies’ COVID-19 disease pandemic emergency response.

“FirstNet’s expansion means our communities and first responders can stay connected during emergencies,” said U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.). “And I’m proud to work with them to bring our infrastructure into the 21stcentury, invest in rural upstate communities and strengthen our state’s economy.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said the federal government has long supported enhanced broadband access and new wireless communication infrastructure because they are essential to the region’s well-being and economic growth. “This project is a significant win for the area because it will help our first responders carry out their mission and properly care for our communities,” he said. “We’ll continue to do our part at the federal level to facilitate public-private partnerships like FirstNet that deliver new, cutting-edge technology to the people who need it most.”

 Anthony Brindisi Edward Parkinson Elise Stefanik Tom Reed

Expanded FirstNet service is great news for New York’s North Country region residents, first responders and public safety interests, according to U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). “This collaboration between the federal government and the private sector means enhanced wireless coverage that is much needed in our communities, especially for our essential first responders,” she said.” I look forward to seeing the positive impacts these projects will have, and will continue to advocate for solutions like this that bring more connectivity to the North Country.”

FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety, said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with New York’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network,” he said. “And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting New York first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

The president of AT&T New York, Amy Hines-Kramer, said that New York’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. “With FirstNet, that’s exactly what is being delivered,” she said. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders and residents greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

According to the FirstNet Authority, the COVID-19 health crisis illustrates why public safety fought for the creation of the FirstNet network. “Where public safety goes, we go,” an FA news release reads. “We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.”

FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It is built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), an independent agency within the federal government.

That is why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider and unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure New York first responders connect to the critical information they need, every day and in every emergency. The network also is giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.

Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in New York, FA is actively extending the reach of the FirstNet network to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. Currently well ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has already brought New York first responders:

Purpose-built network enhancements — 22 new FirstNet cell sites have been launched in the following New York communities:

  • Cattaraugus County in Versailles
  • Chenango County in Greene
  • Clinton County in Ellenburg Center
  • Franklin County in Chateaugay
  • Jefferson County in Antwerp Center
  • Lewis County in Croghan
  • Madison County in Madison
  • Niagara County in Gasport
  • Oneida County in Holland Patent, Camden, Forestport and Deerfield
  • Otsego County in Mount Upton
  • Schoharie County in Esperance
  • Schuyler County in Watkins Glen
  • Seneca County in Romulus
  • St. Lawrence County in Richville, West Stockholm, Potsdam, Parishville, Madrid and Winthrop

Public safety-specific advanced capabilities — FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. This is like giving public safety communications the “lights and sirens” treatment so that they stay connected, no matter the emergency.

Unparalleled emergency support — New York agencies on FirstNet also have continuous access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations — led by a group of former first responders — guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.

Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies — FA also has expanded the benefits of FirstNet for New York agencies, spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile Unlimited plans. This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.

Source: FirstNet Authority

International Towers workers climb atop a test tower the company built near the site of its new headquarters in Marana. - Source: International Towers
International Towers workers climb atop a test tower the company built near the site of its new headquarters in Marana. Source: International Towers
5G

Taking a Closer Look at 5G mmWave Deployment Strategies

U.S. wireless operators Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and AT&T Mobility own millimeter-wave (mmWave) radio-frequency (RF) spectrum licenses and have deployed 5G wireless communications service using mmWave spectrum in some U.S. markets. But just because these operators are using high-band mmWave spectrum for 5G doesn’t mean that their deployment strategies are the same. Aurora Insight examined data that it collected from the Dallas market on the mmWave deployments of Verizon and T-Mobile and discovered that the two operators’ deployment strategies are very different.

What is mmWave?

Millimeter-wave spectrum is RF spectrum that is in the 24 GHz band and higher. The benefit of deploying 5G in mmWave spectrum is that if the signal is unencumbered, users can obtain connection speeds from 1 Gbps to 3 Gbps or higher.

However, mmWave spectrum does have limitations. For instance, mmWave signals cannot travel far. In fact, in some cases the signal will travel less than a mile depending on the transmitter power and antenna gain. In addition, mmWave signals are susceptible to signal attenuation from objects such as trees and buildings and by glass.

Verizon is a big proponent of using mmWave spectrum for 5G. The operator has deployed its mmWave 5G service, which it calls 5G Ultra Wideband, in about 35 cities. Verizon has also revealed that it plans to expand 5G Ultra Wideband’s reach to about 60 cities by year-end.

AT&T has deployed its mmWave 5G service, which it calls 5G Plus, in parts of 35 cities. And T-Mobile offers 5G service over mmWave spectrum in just six cities.

It is important to note that Verizon has said that its mmWave-based Ultra Wideband service is fundamental to the company’s 5G strategy. The operator also plans to deploy low-band 5G using its existing LTE spectrum coupled with dynamic spectrum sharing technology later this year to complement its mmWave-based 5G offering, but also it is investing heavily in the mmWave-based Ultra Wideband service.

T-Mobile, by contrast, has already deployed nationwide 5G service using low-band 600-MHz spectrum and is beginning to deploy 5G in Sprint’s 2.5-GHz mid-band spectrum. T-Mobile closed on its acquisition of Sprint on April 1 and, as part of that deal, it will receive Sprint’s 2.5-GHz spectrum licenses. Sprint holds nearly 80 percent of the licenses in the 2.5-GHz band, which equates to about 100 megahertz of spectrum in the top 100 markets.

T-Mobile 5G transmittersFigure 1. The magenta-colored dots represent T-Mobile transmitters that Aurora Insight detected in the Dallas area. Source: Aurora Insight

During a recent Wells Fargo 5G Forum, Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile, said that the company is still evaluating its options when it comes to deploying 5G in the mmWave band. He also indicated that the company might use that spectrum for backhaul as well as providing 5G service.

Deployment Differences in Dallas

Aurora Insight used its proprietary network of sensors to measure RF spectrum and determine mmWave coverage in the Dallas area in March 2020. The company specifically looked at the 5G mmWave deployments of T-Mobile and Verizon. Its technology extracted detailed information at the cell site level and identified weak spots in the network.

Verizon 5G transmittersFigure 2. The red dots represent Verizon's 5G transmitters that Aurora Insight has detected in the Dallas area. Source: Aurora Insight

Here are some of its findings from the Dallas market:

  • T-Mobile has deployed 41 transmitters and serves approximately 302 people per transmitter.
  • Verizon has deployed 76 transmitters and serves approximately 369 people per transmitter.

In Figure 1, the magenta-colored dots represent T-Mobile transmitters that Aurora Insight detected in the Dallas area.

In Figure 2, the red dots represent Verizon's 5G transmitters that Aurora Insight has detected in the Dallas area.

Verizon is able to serve more potential customers with its transmitters because it has deployed those transmitters in the more densely populated areas, particularly in North Dallas. T-Mobile, by contrast, has fewer transmitters in the North Dallas area. It is also important to note that T-Mobile offers low-band 5G service in Dallas using its 600-MHz spectrum. However, this 5G service does not deliver the high speeds that mmWave 5G service does. Verizon, meanwhile, only offers the mmWave 5G service in Dallas.

Verizon mmWave transmitterPhoto 1. A Verizon mmWave transmitter in Dallas. T-Mobile mmWave transmitterPhoto 2. A T-Mobile mmWave transmitter in Dallas.

Why is there such a disparity in mmWave deployments?

One potential reason there is such a difference between Verizon’s 5G mmWave deployment and T-Mobile’s mmWave deployment in Dallas is because Verizon is using new infrastructure to support its 5G deployment while T-Mobile is using existing infrastructure for its 5G transmitters.

Photo 1 shows a Verizon mmWave transmitter in Dallas. Photo 2 shows a T-Mobile mmWave transmitter in Dallas.

T-Mobile is in the midst of integrating its network with the Sprint network and, as part of that process, it intends to reduce the number of towers it uses.

T-Mobile’s Ray told investors at the Wells Fargo conference that, with the acquisition of Sprint, T-Mobile has leases on about 110,000 towers. He said he would like to reduce that number to 75,000 or 80,000. Then, T-Mobile most likely will add between 5,000 and 10,000 new towers and cell sites to give the company a total of 85,000 sites when the integration is complete.

Ray added that the company is only adding new radios to existing sites at this time, but he also noted that the process of collapsing the two operators’ portfolios of tower and cell sites into one portfolio is a complex and time-consuming task that will take several months to accomplish.

Small Cells

Interestingly, Ray also said that he doesn’t anticipate deploying a lot of 5G small cells in T-Mobile’s network because he believes that the 5G macro network using 2.5-GHz spectrum will provide enough coverage and capacity.

This philosophy differs from Verizon, which is trialing different types of technologies to help boost its 5G mmWave signal. For example, the company revealed that it is testing low-power repeaters from Pivotal Commware and strategically placing them as a way to enhance and boost the company’s mmWave 5G signals and coverage.

5G Networks Will Differ Dramatically

Aurora Insight’s analyses of Verizon and T-Mobile’s mmWave deployments in Dallas are just one example of how differently operators are approaching their 5G network strategies. T-Mobile’s deployment of mmWave 5G using existing infrastructure is resulting in the use of fewer transmitters. It also means that T-Mobile is serving fewer customers in the Dallas area. In contrast, Verizon, with its new infrastructure, has deployed more transmitters and is able to serve more customers than T-Mobile.

Source: Aurora Insight. Visit aurorainsight.com or email connect@aurorainsight.com.

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5G Security

The United States and Slovenia Sign Joint Declaration on 5G Security

The U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Slovenian foreign minister, Anze Logar, signed a joint declaration on 5G wireless communications technology on Aug. 13 in Bled, Slovenia.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that the declaration, a memorandum of understanding, recognizes the critical importance of 5G security within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU). “Slovenia joins a growing community of nations dedicated to protecting their security, privacy, and intellectual property,” she said. Following the signing, the U.S. and Slovenian governments released a statement, as follows:

Taking into account that secure 5G wireless communications networks will be vital to both future prosperity and national security, the United States and Slovenia declare their desire to strengthen our cooperation on 5G. 5G will enable a vast array of new applications, including the provision of services critical to the public, which will benefit our citizens and our economies. Increased amounts of data on 5G networks will further interconnect the economies of the world, including the United States and Slovenia, and facilitate cross-border services and commerce. Protecting communications networks from disruption or manipulation and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States and Slovenia are vital to ensuring that our people are able to take advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities 5G will enable.

agreement on 5G wireless communications technologyU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Slovenia's Foreign Minister Anze Logar sign an agreement on 5G wireless communications technology as Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa stands at center, in Bled, Slovenia, Aug. 13, 2020.Source: U.S. Department of State

Therefore, the United States and Slovenia welcome efforts such as the Council of the European Union “Conclusions on the Significance of 5G to the European Economy and the Need to Mitigate Security Risks Linked to 5G,” communication from the European Commission on “Secure 5G Deployment in the EU – Implementing the EU Toolbox,” and the chair’s statement from the Prague 5G Security Conference — the “Prague Proposals” — as important steps toward developing a common approach to 5G network security. The Prague Proposals emphasize the need to develop, deploy, and commercialize 5G networks based on the foundation of free and fair competition, transparency and the rule of law. The United States and Slovenia also recall the London Declaration, in which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Allies, within their respective authority, committed to ensuring the security of their communications, including 5G.

The United States and Slovenia emphasize the importance of encouraging the participation of reliable and trustworthy network hardware and software suppliers in 5G markets, taking into account risk profile assessments and promoting frameworks that effectively protect 5G networks from unauthorized access and interference. The United States and Slovenia further recognize that 5G suppliers should provide products and services that enable innovation and promote efficiency. The United States and Slovenia note that all countries share a responsibility to undertake a careful and balanced approach to network security and the evaluation of 5G components and software providers.

To promote a vibrant and robust 5G ecosystem, the United States and Slovenia believe that a rigorous evaluation of suppliers and supply chains should take into account the rule of law; the security environment; ethical supplier practices; and a supplier’s compliance with security standards and best practices. Specifically, evaluations should include especially the following elements:

  • Whether the network hardware and software suppliers are subject, without independent judicial review, to control by a foreign government
  • Whether the network hardware and software suppliers have transparent ownership, partnerships, and corporate governance structures and are subject to a legal regime that enforces transparent corporate practices
  • Whether the network hardware and software suppliers are committed to innovation and respect for intellectual property rights
  • Whether the network hardware and software suppliers have a record of ethical corporate behavior

The United States and Slovenia also believe that the same kind of rigorous evaluation should be applied to foreign direct investments in critical communication infrastructure, be it physical or virtual, through a dedicated screening mechanism. Further, the United States and Slovenia recognize the need to raise awareness of the importance of 5G security and intend to promote it within NATO and the EU.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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Security

China Focus: State Department Adds Five Lines of Effort to Clean Path Initiative

Speaking on Aug. 5 in the press briefing room at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, spoke about matters related to 5G wireless communications and China. In his remarks, the secretary referred to actions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and to the country as Communist China.

Since the secretary’s previous press briefing, he said, the world has witnessed more examples of CCP efforts to coerce and control its citizens. “We see it in Hong Kong, where authorities have delayed legislative elections, arrested pro-democracy activists and issued warrants for freedom-loving foreigners, including an American,” he said. “I urge U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution while traveling to or in any place in China.”

Secretary of State Mike PompeoU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at his Aug. 5 press briefing in Washington, D.C.The CCP’s continuing ambition to control Muslim minorities is apparent in the Xinjiang region of China, Pompeo said, and he commended the U.S. Treasury Department for using its Global Magnitsky authorities against human-rights violators there during the past week.

“And we see, too, the CCP’s lawlessness elsewhere in the world,” Pompeo said. “I issued a statement on Sunday about the Chinese-flagged vessels’ predatory fishing practices around the Galapagos Islands, which has alarmed our friends in Ecuador.”

In April, Pompeo announced what he called the Clean Path initiative to keep Americans’ data safe from untrusted vendors, specifically mentioning at the time Huawei Technologies. On Aug. 5, Pompeo announced the expansion of the Clean Network with the launch of five new lines of effort:

Clean Carrier: “We are working to ensure that untrusted Chinese telecom companies don’t provide international telecommunications services between the United States and foreign destinations,” Pompeo said. “I join Attorney General William Barr, Secretary Mark Esper, and Acting Secretary Chad Wolf in urging the FCC to revoke and terminate the authorizations of China Telecom and three other companies providing services to and from the United States.”

Clean Store: “We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from U.S. app stores,” the secretary said. “President Trump has mentioned impending action on TikTok, and for good reason. With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat, and others are significant threats to the personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content censorship.”

Clean Apps: “We’re working to prevent Huawei and other untrusted vendors from pre-installing or making available for download the most popular U.S. apps,” Pompeo said. “We don’t want companies to be complicit in Huawei’s human rights abuses or the CCP’s surveillance apparatus.”

Clean Cloud: “We’re protecting Americans’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID vaccine research, from being accessed on cloud-based systems run by companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom and Tencent,” Pompeo said. “The State Department will work closely with the Commerce Department and other agencies to limit the ability of Chinese cloud service providers to collect, to store and to process vast amounts of data and sensitive information here in the United States.”

Clean Cable: “We’re working to ensure that the CCP can’t compromise information carried by the undersea cables that connect our country and others to the global internet,” Pompeo said. “Huawei Marine significantly underbids other companies on multiple procurements to connect Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Europe using Chinese state-backed underseas technology. We cannot allow that to continue. We call on all freedom-loving nations and companies to join the Clean Network.”

 

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5G

White House Boosts 5G With DoD Spectrum-sharing Agreement

An additional 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band radio-frequency (RF) spectrum will be made available for commercial 5G deployment in a step intended to strengthen U.S. leadership in 5G wireless communications, according to an announcement from the White House.

“Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century,” said President Donald Trump.

Donald TrumpSecure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.— President Donald TrumpThe action will give Americans access to the greatest 5G networks in the world, leading to cutting-edge innovation, economic prosperity, and strong national security, according to a statement from the White House. The spectrum sharing agreement will allow the American wireless industry to build and operate 5G networks nationwide using the 3.45-GHz to 3.55-GHz band. It was through collaboration with the Department of Defense, the statement reads, that the Administration worked carefully to ensure commercial use of what it called critically needed mid-band spectrum would not compromise military preparedness or national security.

The White House said the action builds on President Trump’s record of success in ensuring that the United States is the global leader in 5G readiness. In recounting that record, the White House statement said Trump and his administration have taken strong action to remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to the 5G infrastructure buildout, helping secure America’s place as the world’s leader in 5G readiness.

“The FCC has freed up more than 5,000 megahertz of spectrum for 5G — far more than any other country in the world — and has also taken action to streamline the permitting process for 5G infrastructure with state and local governments,” the statement reads. “President Trump’s historic tax cuts and deregulatory actions have created incentives for the wireless industry to invest in 5G technology, leading to millions of new American jobs. To ensure that our networks are secure, President Trump signed legislation to protect our nation’s 5G and wireless networks from untrusted companies and foreign adversaries.”

In a prepared statement, Kaleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said that with 5G networks already available to more than 250 million Americans, the United States already has made significant strides. She said the availability of more mid-band spectrum is a key factor to driving widespread 5G access across rural America.

“Throughout this process, the Trump Administration has worked carefully to ensure that commercial use of this critically needed mid-band spectrum will never compromise military preparedness or national security,” McEnany said. “5G wireless communications will be as much as 100 times faster than current 4G networks. It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate and travel. It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive and American healthcare better and more accessible. 5G networks will create astonishing and thrilling new opportunities for all Americans.”

At the Department of Defense (DoD), Dana Deasy, the chief information officer, said that the spectrum sharing agreement resulted from a mid-April White House meeting with DoD officials to discuss what could be done quickly to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G in the 3-GHz band. As a result, he said, the America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team (AMBIT) was established and worked on an unprecedented 15-week schedule to make 100 megahertz of contiguous mid-band spectrum available by the end of the summer.

“DoD established a working group that brought together 180 subject matter experts with ship, airborne, ground, electronic warfare, test and training expertise from Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the office of the Secretary of Defense,” Deasy said, in a prepared statement. “The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy provided external subject matter experts who were embedded with the DoD team.”

 Claude Aiken,
president and CEO of WISPA
Kaleigh McEnany,
White House press secretary
Dana Deasy,
chief information officer,
Department of Defense
Chris Pearson,
president of 5G Americas

The DoD saw these steps as necessary because the 3450-MHz to 3550-MHz band supports critical DoD radar operations including high-powered defense radar systems on fixed, mobile, shipborne and airborne platforms. Capabilities for these systems include air defense, missile and gunfire control, counter-mortar, bomb scoring, battlefield weapon locations, air traffic control and range safety.

Deasy said that AMBIT made use of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) work that demonstrated sharing feasibility that Congress directed in the MOBILE NOW Act. He said the FCC will auction the spectrum after service rules are adopted.

“Through the hard work of the AMBIT, we expect these rules to be similar to AWS-3, where for the most part the spectrum will be available for commercial use without limits, while simultaneously minimizing impact to DoD operations,” Deasy said.

Donald TrumpI commend the president and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment.— Ajit Pai, FCC chairmanThe chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, said that the spectrum reallocation is a key milestone in securing United States leadership in 5G. He said the FCC looks forward to moving quickly to adopt service rules for the 3.45-GHz band and then holding an auction to bring the mid-band spectrum to market. “I commend the president and Department of Defense for today’s announcement that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band will be made available for commercial 5G deployment,” Pai said.

At CTIA, a membership organization that represents wireless communications carriers, its president and CEO, Meredith Attwell Baker, said, “Opening up this critical block of mid-band spectrum for full-power commercial operations will enhance U.S. competitiveness in the 5G ecosystem. We applaud the White House and Pentagon for finding ways to promote our nation’s leadership of the emerging 5G economy while safeguarding vital defense operations.”

Chris Pearson, the president of 5G Americas, said that mid-band spectrum is important for the deployment of 5G in the United States. “We are pleased that the White House has led the Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to support commercial access in the upper 100 megahertz of the 3.1-MHz to 3.55-GHz band, at full commercial power,” he said. 5G Americas is a membership organization composed of telecommunications service providers and manufacturers.

The president and CEO of WISPA, a membership organization composed of fixed wireless internet service providers, Claude Aiken, applauded the spectrum agreement. “Spectrum is finite, and it must be shared if Americans are to gain the full benefits of wireless broadband,” he said. “We want to thank all involved for working through the numerous complex technical arrangements to make available this valuable mid-band spectrum.” Aiken said the sharing will benefit Americans, keeping them safe on the home front, and providing more of the fuel providers and the industry need to bring broadband to what he called hungry consumers.

 

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Business

WISP Success in CBRS Auction Good for Towers

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs), which previous survived on a diet of unlicensed spectrum, made a strong showing in September’s FCC Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) auction. Almost 70 WISPs placed winning bids for more than 3,600 licenses, representing 17 percent of the total, in more than 1,350 counties, according to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

“Instead of the action focused on the metro areas, 91 percent of all licenses sold, revealing that significant interest and investment went to the rural areas of America, too,” said Mike Wendy, WISPA director of communications. “WISPs spent $100.4 million in Auction 105, an unprecedented amount when considering the fixed wireless industry’s historical reliance on Part 15 unlicensed spectrum to serve its customers.”

The CBRS auction success is a sign of how the WISPs are evolving through more access to capital and aggressive market entry, according to Wendy.

Six-year Uptick in Leasing Revenue from WISPs

Vertical Bridge is one tower company that may benefit from the WISP success in the CBRS auction. It saw increasing growth in WISP revenue from 2014 to 2019, and 2020 may be the best year yet. Today, it represents 22 percent of Vertical Bridge’s collocation lease revenue, according to Michael Belski, Vertical Bridge co-founder and executive vice president of leasing and marketing.

“This year, we have a lot of activity and a lot in the hopper, and it will probably be better than last year,” Belski said. “Rural markets need more internet coverage, and even suburban markets want more options.”

Vertical Bridge has a nationwide portfolio, including Alaska. It owns or has exclusive management rights to 19,000 towers, of which 40 percent to 50 percent are in rural America. Add to that its management of rooftops and other unique assets, and the number rises to 266,000 locations. The percentage of new builds in rural America for the tower company is currently about 50 percent.

Belski said he expects business from WISPs that won spectrum in the CBRS auction will occur a year from now. “We are very hopeful that it will have a positive impact on our portfolio,” he said. “A lot of companies put a lot of money into it. They will put it to use. When they will build it out, that is what we don’t know. Hopefully, our asset base is in the right position.”

WISP Revenues Benefit CTI Towers’ Bottom Line

Many carriers seem to restrain their coverage buildout, but CTI Towers is still beating its projections through increased lease-up from WISPs.

“We have had a lot of new business,” said Tony Peduto, CEO of CTI Towers. “For example, WISPs are starting to deploy money they won from the CAF II [Connect American Fund] auction. We’ve seen a significant amount of lease-up in the Midwest and in the Texas market.

One of CTI Towers’ partners, Cable One, made investments in two WISPs during the second quarter. It purchased 40 percent of Wisper ISP, a winner in the CAF II auction that covers six states served by Cable One. Also, during the second quarter, Cable One purchased a 10 percent interest in Nextlink Internet, another fixed wireless provider and CAF II winner.

“When you see investment like that, you know an industry is real,” Peduto said. “Smaller companies are being absorbed by larger companies. That is how industries grow into nationwide players. These WISPs are serving a need, because the wireless and other broadband providers have not been able to get into some of these rural areas and WISPs have exploited their absence. With cable companies looking for owner economics, this may be an opportunity for them. That bodes well for the WISP industry.”

The time for providing wireless coverage in rural areas seems to have come. The desire in government circles to fund the close of the digital divide is higher than ever — witness the Department of Justice’s rural coverage requirement in the Sprint/T-Mobile merger settlement. WISPs are well positioned to provide much of that service. They know the territory and the customers in those places that most people have never heard about.

“With COVID-19 and everything that is going on in the world, WISPs are going to be more important, not just to the tower business, but to the country in general,” Belski said. “Everybody wants to be connected, and WISPs provide one of the best opportunities to make that happen.”

 

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October 2020

Site Name: Downtown Toledo

Site Owner: New Par & Verizon Wireless

Height: 262 feet

Location: Toledo, Ohio

Year Constructed: 1995

Photography by Don Bishop

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5G Business

Workforce Development Prepares Contractor for Rising 5G Build-out

Tilson Technology Management values apprenticeships and portable credentials for new workers. One-touch field reporting supports rapid engineering design.

Speaking on Jan. 30 at the AGL Local Summit in Seattle, Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson Technology Management, gave a contractor’s perspective of the wireless telecommunications industry. As a designer and builder of telecommunications infrastructure, including fiber-optic cable routes, small cells and towers, Tilson employs 650 people. Broder spoke during the session, “Tower Services: Evolving to Meet Today’s Carrier Needs.”

As the moderator of the session, Todd Schlekeway, executive director of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, asked whether contractors such as Tilson train new technician-level workers to work on both traditional macro towers and small cells that are built in rights of way.

Mike PompeoWe’re typically putting together the design that leads to the entitlement process both jurisdictionally and from a pole licensing standpoint.— Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson Technology ManagementBroder said Tilson has dedicated teams that provide tower services and dedicated teams that provide small cell services, and the company has a labor force on the edge of each type of work that crosses over both. For tower construction, Broder said, Tilson recruits pedigreed tower climbers. For small cell construction, the company recruits people with lineman skills.

Referring to the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program (TIRAP), a joint venture of telecommunications companies, industry associations and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Broder said Tilson automatically enrolls its Level 1 and Level 2 employees as TIRAP apprentices. TIRAP develops DOL-credentialed apprenticeship programs available to qualified employers for career development of a telecommunications workforce.

“Last year, we enrolled about 80 TIRAP employees,” Broder said. “The mentor-student pairs will have an opportunity to cross over between Tilson teams. In our traditional workforce, we have some bifurcation. At some level, it is helpful to have the necessary specialization.”

At Tilson, Broder said, there is much greater crossover between the tower and small cell divisions than between the fiber and in-building divisions. “We have folks who work inside and outside on fiber, and folks who work on towers and in buckets,” he said.

Workers with what Broder called adjacent skills have the ability to transition from physically demanding work to assignments at a more senior level, with additional incremental training. This may occur as some workers lose physical strength or may develop a painful condition, yet they learned how to provision a radio, understand civil design standards and have the mentality of working in a safe manner.

“Fundamentally, the table stakes that we’re thinking about is what is the safe method of accessing the facility they’re working on, so the discipline of having a bucket truck operating under power and in traffic is different than rope access on a tower, which is then again different from how to access a drop ceiling safely,” Broder said. “Our safety performance has been very strong relative to injuries, but the few injuries we’ve had have typically involved someone falling off the second rung of a ladder while accessing a drop ceiling. That has been a greater cost to us than any tower injury we’ve ever had.”

5G Technology Benefit

Broder said not only does Tilson install 4G and 5G wireless communications technology, the company benefits from field reporting platforms that rely on wireless communications.

“As we’re building 5G, we typically have access to 4G,” Broder said. “And where we have access to 4G, particularly in the design engineering phase of the operation, we’re able to collect data and share that data from surveyors in the field with engineers who are at a desktop before the surveyors leave the field.”

This gives contractors a huge ability to go out and touch a site once, gather the necessary data and address constructability or a design challenge while the surveyor is still in the area, Broder said. Generally, Tilson uses a tablet device with software templated for the specific project and uses video and still photogrammetry with sub-meter-accuracy survey-grade GPS to enable streaming survey data to allow a registered professional engineer to provide a sophisticated design with just one touch.

“In some cases, we’re hearing that that’s an automated touch — a drone,” Broder said. “But at a minimum, it’s a surveyor with connectivity in the field, and we really don’t want to ever send that surveyor back out to that site before it’s constructed. It is hard to imagine how we did this before fleet tracking systems. We did it, and I vaguely remember it, but boy, what a difference to have a real-time operational picture of where all your assets are in the field.”

The innovation lies in the software used with drones that give the ability to go from a video feed with a GPS location to drawings, Broder said. Using photogrammetry that cuts out not only the tower climb, but also the drawing, making it possible to auto-draw from video photogrammetry, is powerful, he said.

Small Cell Development

Broder said that in 2020, Tilson has 5,000 small cells in development for various carriers in 700 jurisdictions. When Tilson is building a small cell, the company addresses a broad base of jurisdictional and pole owner requirements. If not engaged on the front end of obtaining the municipal franchise, then Tilson is in an advisory or close collaborative mode with the carrier that is obtaining that franchise agreement, Broder said.

“We’re typically putting together the design that leads to the entitlement process both jurisdictionally and from a pole licensing standpoint,” he said. “Most electric utility poles are installable from a code perspective, but are often disqualified from a specific utility design standard perspective, which is usually more stringent than code. In such projects, we’re typically in a habitual relationship with both the carriers’ and the pole owners’ engineering and joint use departments that manage the licensing process.”

Tilson’s goal is to obtain the best performance from a utility, to be innovative on the margins short of groundbreaking, and then be able to show its work to communities entitling additional vertical structure. The idea, Broder said, is to demonstrate that Tilson will maximize collocation and, when new vertical structure is needed, give the reasons why other structures are either disqualifying or they don’t meet the Request for Proposal objective.

“From a hierarchy standpoint, we work with the utilities at the design level of engagement, and then we work with the jurisdictions for the remainder of the work,” Broder said. “In most communities, we are reaching 50 percent or more collocation. But even in the few communities where we had 100 percent collocation, there almost always has been some new vertical structure.”

 

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Business

Knowing the Laws of the Land Critical to Cell Tower Siting

The site-build process is complex but remains the same no matter what company wins a contract.

It wasn’t too long ago, the wireless industry was in its Wild West phase, with regional carriers turning markets on, one tower at a time. Back then, each new town presented its own host of challenges to overcome; local laws to learn and specific zoning rules and ordinances to adhere to. In many cases, local municipal leaders were just a few steps ahead of the carriers, writing or revising laws to adjust for the new technology.

Suddenly, land was quickly revalued as opportunities to host cell towers presented themselves. Potential landlords had to balance potential income with concerns about the visual aesthetic of landscapes and the safety of resident and migrating wildlife. For carriers and the companies that support them, scouting locations, negotiating leases, designing and building towers were part of a process that often moved at a glacial pace.

But now, with many consumer carriers consolidated into the major players and with more and more businesses employing private networks, speed and efficiency are critical when companies bid on infrastructure buildout projects. To gain and maintain a competitive advantage, SAC Wireless created the SAC Engine Room, which houses the nation’s largest nationwide telecommunication jurisdictional requirements database. Less of a single physical location and more of a streamlined, coordinated, well-organized, company wide initiative, the Engine Room dramatically reduces the time between identifying a geographic footprint and delivering Notices to Proceed (NTPs).

The purpose of the Engine Room is to not reinvent the wheel every time the company enters a new market. By having rapid access to the fine print, leasing, design and install teams arrive well prepared to meet with everyone who will have a say whether a project is approved. Not only does this streamline the process by answering most questions before they are asked, it shows potential business partners and civic leaders that we respect their laws, preferences and time. We want to be trusted partners for years to come, supplying the broadband services that will help their communities grow and thrive.

Our real estate team works with engineers to identify locations that will best serve the community in terms of signal strength and reach for the planned network. This includes triangulation with other towers in the area to seamlessly transfer data while accepting and handing off voice calls from phones in motion. The real estate team works with the landlords and jurisdictions to secure necessary permissions for the carriers to proceed with deployment. The legal team ensures proposals are fully compliant with all laws and regulations, including environmental and aesthetic considerations. Finally, all this shared knowledge is passed along to the install and maintenance teams to ensure the end product is and remains compliant with the lease and local laws.

During install, whenever problems arise, the team can turn to SAC’s Digitalization and Automation (DnA) database, a best practices database that provides answers in an instant. As new issues arise, the team enters solutions into the database so that all install teams can benefit, should it happen again. We also share best practices, especially on safety issues, industrywide. It is imperative that nobody is hurt on the job or near a tower. When competitors work together industrywide, everyone benefits: workers, customers and consumers, plus pedestrians and wildlife near equipment.

The site-build process is complex but remains the same no matter what company wins a contract. By working as one team, SAC has streamlined the process; no details or precious hours are lost while handing off a project from one team to the next.

Scott Pomykalski is chief development officer at SAC Wireless.

Illustration showing various poles. - Source: PortlandOregon.gov
Illustration showing various poles. Source: PortlandOregon.gov
Small Cells

Court Upholds Majority of Small Cell Order

The court affirmed the FCC’s efforts to ensure that infrastructure deployment critical to 5G wireless communications is not impeded by exorbitant fees, undue delays or unreasonable barriers to pole access.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted in part, and denied in part, petitions for review from local governments led by the City of Portland of three FCC orders concerning the installation of small cell wireless facilities. Included are the Small Cell Order, the Moratoria Order and the One Touch Make-Ready Order.

FCC officials and representatives of the wireless communications industry applauded the decision by the court to uphold what they called the vast majority of three orders to accelerate the deployment of wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure.

“The Wireless Infrastructure Association applauds the 9th Circuit for basing its decision on the law and the facts and for affirming the FCC’s authority so that broadband infrastructure is not unreasonably impeded,” said WIA president and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “WIA also applauds the FCC for its focus and diligence in promoting 5G deployment so that America can benefit from next-generation wireless services.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “The court rightly affirmed the FCC’s efforts to ensure that infrastructure deployment critical to 5G — a key part of our 5G FAST Plan — is not impeded by exorbitant fees imposed by state and local governments, undue delays in local permitting, and unreasonable barriers to pole access.”

The court’s opinion covered three major subjects: fees, aesthetics and the time for approving permit applications (shot clocks), where the FCC’s orders ruled that local regulations needed streamlining in 5G equipment deployment. Local governments appealed all three in several pleadings grouped under the title City of Portland v. United States.

Steven BerrySteven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers AssociationPhoto by: Don BishopSteven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association, said: “The Court’s decision allows wireless carriers to continue to work with state and local governments to deploy next-generation networks and close the digital divide, while importantly ensuring that outlier regulations do not inhibit deployment. I also commend the FCC’s Office of General Counsel for its vigorous defense of these important orders.”

Fees

The court ruled that the FCC adopted presumptively permissible fee levels by using a range of sources as a guide, including state laws. Although local governments argued that the FCC was setting rates, the court ruled that the agency was only determining a level at which fees would be so clearly reasonable that justification was not necessary.

Fees are presumptively lawful if, for each wireless facility, application fees are less than $500 and recurring fees are less than $270 per year. Fees may exceed those levels if they are justified. In other words, localities may charge fees above these levels where they can demonstrate that their actual costs exceed the presumptive levels.

Nonetheless, the cities were pleased that the court cleared up what had been confusion as to whether the FCC had actually capped the application fees at $500 and recurring fees at $270. Cities that require an RF compliance evaluation had encountered resistance from carriers that took the position that evaluations were not reasonable. This ruling expresses that it is reasonable to charge the carrier to pay the direct cost for those evaluations, even though it may add $200 per site.

Aesthetics

The FCC had ruled that some local aesthetic requirements were slowing small cell deployments. Thus, in its Small Cell Order, the agency said aesthetics requirements must be “reasonable, (2) no more burdensome than those applied to other types of infrastructure deployments, and (3) objective and published in advance.”

In a win for the cities, the court ruled that the way the Small Cell Order deals with aesthetics was “among the most problematic,” because it strays from Section 332 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

“Unlike Section 332, the [FCC] regulation does not permit even reasonable regulatory distinctions among functionally equivalent, but physically different, services,” according to the court. “The [FCC] order requires the comparison of the challenged aesthetic regulation of 5G deployments to the regulation of any other infrastructure deployment, while the statute only requires a comparison with the regulation of functionally equivalent infrastructure deployments.”

The panel granted the petitions for review of the FCC’s requirement that aesthetic regulations be no more burdensome than requirements applied to other infrastructure deployment, and the FCC’s requirement that all local aesthetic regulations be objective. It vacated those portions of the rule and remanded them to the FCC.

Shot Clock

In a loss for the cities, the court ruled in favor of the FCC’s expansion of the shot clock from zoning decisions to include all permitting decisions — for example, building, electric, road closure or other permits. Delays in these related permits on the city’s part could render the shot clock moot, the court ruled.

“The FCC acted well within its authority, and in accordance with the purpose of the Act, when it broadened the application of the shot clocks to encompass all permits, in order to prevent unreasonable delays,” the court said.

In its Small Cell Order, the federal agency also shortened the shot clock time to 60 days for the city to consider equipment additions on existing infrastructure and 90 days for new structures, as opposed to 90 days and 150 days, respectively. The local governments disagreed with the new shot clock, saying it arbitrarily restricted their ability to review zoning requirements.

In its argument for the shortened shot clock, the FCC said delays under the old regime were so serious that they would virtually bar carriers from deploying small cells. “The FCC concluded that under its new shot clock rules, which shorten the time frames and expand the applicability of the rules, there will be no similar bar to wireless deployment,” the court wrote.

In a win for the cities, the commission denied carriers’ efforts for applications to be deemed granted if the shot clock expires.

“Because the FCC reasonably explained it has taken measures to reduce delays that would otherwise have occurred under its old regime, the factual findings here do not compel the adoption of a ‘deemed granted’ remedy,” the court wrote.

The court ruled against the local governments’ claims that the Small Cell Order and Moratoria Orders violated the Constitution. The court also upheld the FCC’s One-Touch Make-Ready Order.

To see a copy of the court’s ruling, click here.

 

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Business

Four Insidious Effects of a Mis-hire

The cost of doing nothing about a bad hire far outweighs the cost of being proactive and creating highly effective hiring solutions.

The world’s innovators are calling for reinvention and transformation of human resources departments. Given that the majority of hiring responsibilities fall within HR and it is — in most cases — the entry into companies, reinventing HR must start with transforming the way leaders think about and behave about hiring.

Many innovative leaders and early adopters are already operating highly effective, conscious hiring programs out of pure necessity. Although some may advocate for the complete destruction of human resources departments, the proper solution is the complete destruction of old, outdated, unconscious and ineffective hiring techniques. While people and business have remained virtually unchanged, human beings’ perspectives, outlooks, attitudes about work and their ability to manifest what they want — when they want — has spurred a fundamental shift in the way people operate in business and work today. With a range of newly created job options coupled with a major changing of the guard in the workforce, smart companies must equip themselves to navigate through these new employee and workplace paradigms.

CEOs, business leaders and managers are acutely aware of the fiscal costs of a mis-hire, but there are some invisible — and potentially insidious — costs that can wreak havoc on your organization. Although it might not be top of mind, when you hire a person who does not fit with your organizational culture or operating philosophy, the effects are pervasive throughout your organization. By continuing to operate with outmoded hiring practices, you become susceptible to four specific hidden consequences of a mis-hire.

Fragmented Customer Service

Ensuring that your team understands your product and service set and why customers use them is where excellent service begins. You can bridge the knowledge gap for new hires with comprehensive product and service training; however, you cannot train your workers to care about the customer. Behavioral and performance research shows that great service is delivered through a fundamental set of values, attitudes and beliefs that are in alignment with a service philosophy. When people are in a role in customer service for the wrong reasons, no training in the world will compensate for their lack of connection to the work itself.

This is a common experience when expecting one level of affinity from the place we spend our money and receiving service that is counter to that expectation. This leads to feeling disengaged, dissatisfied and even extremely angry. When you hire a person whose heart is not aligned with your mission and your service offerings, or who lacks the basic service acumen to execute your customer service objectives, this same level of dissatisfaction is what your customers experience.

Reduction in Innovation

Companies arrive at a sustainable business model through innovation, creativity and a keen awareness of how to bridge a gap in the marketplace. Once the product set is stable and customers are buying, continual improvement and innovation are required to stay ahead of the copycat curve. When some of your people cannot seem to get it together, miss basic deadlines, or don’t find problems until your customers do, innovation is not even an option.

When an employee is hired because his resume lists the right keywords, yet the person behind the resume lacks conceptual thinking ability and theoretical problem solving, that person lacks the ability to come up with creative and inventive solutions. Often this lack of ability shows up as excuses, finger-pointing and roadblocks outside the employee’s control. It is important to be aware that a person who lacks these traits is unaware he lacks them and that most often these traits and competencies are difficult to teach. If time is not on your side, to fill roles in which innovation is needed, hire people with these innovator competencies, behaviors and values.

Workforce Productivity

When you hire in a hurry, you experience unwanted turnover. If you are lucky, the turnover happens fast, yet in most cases it is months before the problem surfaces and the effect of the wrong person doing the job wrong has already disseminated throughout the team, if not the department. In high-level roles, specifically for senior leadership, the effect is detrimental not only in the immediate area of influence, but also throughout the organization. In sales, for example, if you have two or three people continually not achieving quotas and approaching their positions with a poor attitude, it poisons the well for those who are producing and who are aligned with the position requirements and level of activity required for success.

Tolerating people who are not engaged and thriving waters down the engagement and productivity of those who want to win. When any of these morale and engagement busters are happening within your culture, good people either leave or move into autopilot until they can leave. The indirect and costly effects are higher staffing costs to make up for the lack of employee and team productivity; institutional knowledge loss when good, trained people leave; and increased training costs to continually retrain new blood into the organization.

Time and Energy Losses

We have all heard the old adage that 80 percent of our time is spent with the bottom 20 percent of performers. As it happens, this statement may be closer to 30 percent of the underperformers. As the competition for talent increases and the fear of the empty chair blocks your good senses, you can feel pressured to fill the position with the first decent person who surfaces with a cogent resume. Hiring the wrong people because you are in a rush to put someone in a seat leads to more empty seats, or worse: full seats with empty payoffs.

One of the hidden costs of unwanted turnover as reported in recent employee and manager engagement surveys is that 70 percent of managers surveyed reported that they are coping with burnout and a job misery rating that is detrimental to their overall happiness. When the workplace culture turns into one of micromanagement, correction and reprimand rather than collaboration, creation and mentoring, the manager’s job becomes one of parent and babysitter.

Often we see managers and leaders looking to HR to fix people and situations that could have been avoided by demonstrating more consciousness and awareness before, during and after hiring. In many companies, it seems as though admitting to making a poor hire is a far worse offense than tolerating subpar performance. Furthermore, the cost of doing nothing about a bad hire far outweighs the cost of being proactive and creating highly effective hiring solutions. When you think about it in terms of bottom-line profitability and overall success, consciously shifting your philosophy about people and hiring just makes common sense.

Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of Conscious Hiring and Development, a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert, and author of The Wealth of Talent. Graziano provides actionable, practical ideas to maximize her customers’ effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than 20 years of experience in the recruitment and search industry, she empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the day-to-day operation. Visit www.keenalignment.com.

 

Product Showcase

Small Cell & DAS

The CAN, a Small Cell Solution

Alpha Wireless

Alpha Wireless’ popular small cell solution – the CAN, Concealed Antenna Node boosts network capacity and coverage while fitting discreetly into its surroundings. The CAN’s all‐in‐one, patent design integrates the radios, backhaul options, GPS, cables, and any required power protection and distribution into a single enclosure. Achieve cost savings of 59%, quick zoning and planning approval, quality assured – assembled, wired, and tested before delivery to site. It is ideal for pole top or side arm mounting on a utility pole. Find out more: watch this 2‐minute video on the CAN at alphawireless.com/#can today.

www.alphawireless.com

Two-Hole Washer for Ground Lug to Buss Bar

Bondwasher

New from Bondwasher: Our 2-hole lug washer line now includes the NEW BLOCKWASHER. Like the famous 2-hole Bondwasher, our new washer is used for the installation of a ground lug to the buss bar. The only difference is Blockwasher has two tabs, one on each end and is installed on the bolt head side of the buss bar opposite of the Bondwasher. The “Tabs” keep the bolt from turning, just as the lock washer keeps the nut from turning. Using both the Bondwasher and Blockwasher as a system ensures the integrity of the ground lug to buss bar connection. An additional bonus of using the Bondwasher System is easier and faster installation, as the Blockwasher Tabs act as a tool to hold the bolt head while tightening the nut with a wrench.

www.bondwasher.com

Virtual Site Selection

B+T Group

The patented Site360 virtual tour is helping clients stay on schedule with virtual site selection and better communication with municipalities. Clients using Site360 are able to complete site selection from their desktop by using the SiteViews ‐ virtual site tours with pole measurement and details provided in high resolution. And engineers are able to complete deliverables all from the information collected via Site360. That includes site plans, construction drawings, height verification and structural analysis of the pole. We've scanned thousands of sites using Site360. Visit www.btgrp.com to schedule a demo.

www.btgrp.com

Network Demarcation Point Product

Clearfield

The StreetSmart Small Count Fiber Hand‐Off Box serves as a network demarcation point between the backhaul provider and the network operator or as a demarc point for small count MDUs. This compact demarc will streamline an operator’s ability to economically extend fiber further into the network, supporting the roll out of 5G, FTTP (fiberto‐ the‐premise), and Wireless access services to more customers. The universality of its design means that any type of carrier can utilize one product across all of its small cell, DAS and MDU builds to support Cloud, IoT and other services in a 5G world.

www.seeclearfield.com

C-RAN Antenna System for In-Building Wireless

Commscope

CommScope ERA is an all-digital C-RAN antenna system for in-building wireless. ERA helps reduce the system footprint, saving valuable real estate, while also reducing head-end size and power requirements. Supported by more than 164 patents families for technological innovation, ERA drives the standards that are transforming in-building wireless connectivity.

www.commscope.com

Cloud-RAN Solution

Commscope

CommScope ONECELL is an innovative cloud-RAN solution that enables operators to bring the power of LTE and 5G indoor. ONECELL leverages Open RAN for 5G, cell virtualization and edge intelligence to make it easy to deploy and upgrade as well as provide better performance and support for value-added services.

www.commscope.com

A Suite of Concealment Solutions

Comptek Technologies

Accelerate small cell deployments with full, partial and non‐concealment solutions. Comptek solutions combine the structural, thermal and RF requirements of the wireless carriers with the aesthetic guidelines of communities. In addition to the CityPole® concealment smart pole solution and standard poles, Comptek’s suite of mounts, cabinets, architectural shrouds, and 5G shroud systems complement the company’s wireless infrastructure product portfolio.

www.comptektechnologies.com

Smart Pole System

Hapco

SMART TRAC, Hapco’s patent‐pending aluminum SMART POLE SYSTEM, offers multi‐use poles and accessory mounting options to Smart Cities looking for the perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics. Each of the four available SMART TRAC shaft sizes contain a “TRAC” system at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. “TRAC” profiles are identical on all sizes, allowing the Locking Cam attaching hardware to work with all SMART TRAC designs. Accessories may be moved, modified, or removed without unsightly bands and drill holes. Quad‐Chambers provide continuous Signal Isolation, and Anchor Base and Direct Buried Options are available in all shaft sizes and pole configurations.

www.hapco.com

GPS-over-Fiber Link System

Huber+Suhner, Inc.

Huber+Suhner's new Direct GPS-over-Fiber is the world's first truly copperless link for GPS timing signals for DAS systems and small cell networks. With both signal and power distributed over the fiber, no external power source is required at the antenna location. The system is immune to RFI, EMI, and EMP, with unlimited flexibility and scalability for signal distribution. There are carrier-approved configurations available for providing timing to a single radio up to an entire DAS head-end room or BBU hotel. Contact Huber+Suhner today!

www.hubersuhner.com

VHF Base Station Antenna covers 128-180 MHz

Mobile Mark

Mobile Mark’s unique Ultra-Broadband Base Station Antenna provides coverage from 128-180 MHz with VSWR <2:1 (or 138-174 MHz with VSWR <1:5:1). The BSLLL150BB antenna provides: Ultra-Broadband frequency coverage; 3 dBi gain across the frequency band; Vertical beamwidth (-3dB) of 90°; 500 Watts rating and 200-mph wind load; Heavy-duty dual clamp mounting kit; Dependable, heavy-duty construction. Typical settings include law enforcement, fire, and EMS (emergency medical services). Also used by aviation, satellite, power utilities, heavy industry, and local governments for telemetry and remote-control applications.

www.mobilemark.com

Custom Cell-Site Shelters and Enclosures

Peabody Engineering

You see us everywhere and yet... you don’t! There are estimated to be over 4.78 billion cell phone users worldwide which equates to a LOT of antennas both big and small. We have a unique fabrication process and proprietary FiberScreen™ and PolyScreen™ products, which allow us to create unique and custom shelters and enclosures for each specific location. Our cell site enclosures are fully engineered, modular, bolt in‐place assemblies that save thousands of dollars in labor and ensure a predictable, high‐quality installation. The concealments seamlessly blend in with the existing architecture, adding value and beauty for many years to come.

www.4peabody.com

First Responder Safety Switch (FRST)

Perfect Vision

PerfectVision’s patented First Responder Safety Switch (FRST) is the first of its kind to address potential hazards of RF to first responders. Designed to prevent an active antenna array from transmitting during an emergency situation this product protects Firefighters, EMT’s, Police, Utility Workers, and the general public from exposure to hazardous levels of RF emission in the event a pole (or supporting structure) is damaged. This cost-effective safety interlock device ensures FCC compliance with RF emission exposure to active antenna arrays. The First Responder Safety Switch (FRST) reduces liability for municipalities by preventing accidental RF emission exposure to first responders.

www.perfect-vision.com

Small Cell Concealment

Raycap | STEALTH

Raycap | STEALTH’s newest solution, InvisiWave, makes the concealment of 5G mmWave small cell sites possible. Prior to this material, the industry struggled to achieve a mmWave solution that could hide the radios and antennas without affecting performance. Now, concealment is possible for all technologies. Available in many different concealment configurations including light poles, rooftop concealments, cabinet enclosures, and more, InvisiWave products will help our customers take their 5G projects where ever they need to go.

www.stealthconcealment.com

In-Building DAS Solution

Sinclair

Sinclair Technologies' DAS Solution is designed for mission‐critical operations and public safety applications with reliable and durable design features that cater to a variety of in‐building communication needs and specifications. The antennas are low profile and ground plane independent, featuring an inconspicuous design that blends into any environment. Their high efficiency, low‐PIM rating, and wideband characteristics ensure optimal RF performance. These antennas come equipped with plenum‐rated Low‐Smoke Zero‐Halogen (LSZH) cables and fire‐retardant radomes rated at UL94‐V0 to comply with the most stringent in‐building fire regulations globally. Additionally, Sinclair offers high‐quality DAS power splitters and couplers.

www.sinctech.com

Automated Project Reporting

Sitetracker

Make decisions and draw conclusions from data in Sitetracker reports and dashboards. Standardize reporting by automatically pulling data from a project into a report, improving your productivity, and saving hours every week. Select the best vendors by using reports to accurately track vendor performance and help efficiently evaluate which vendors are best for your business. Gain insights into your projects by creating custom reports to show any information you want to see: incomplete projects, overdues, or projects by states. The possibilities are endless. Use Sitetracker Reports and Dashboards to gain valuable insights into your business and make decisions.

www.sitetracker.com

Concealment Products and Services

Solar Communications International, Inc.

Solar Communications International (SCI) has been concealing your sites for over 20 years, leading the way in product design and innovation. Count on SCI to deliver the products and services you need to satisfy even the toughest critics. From rooftop to mountain top, from parking lot to playground—technology doesn’t have to be intrusive.

www.rftransparent.com

Small Cell Cabinets

Transtector

Transtector Systems engineers a full line of reliable, safe and configurable compact cabinet solutions engineered specifically for Small Cell deployments. These cabinets integrate dependable surge suppression, are compact to reduce public visibility, provide several current configurations, and are UL listed to meet industry safety standards.

www.transtector.co

Adaptive Pole Top Kits (APT)

Valmont Site Pro 1

Our Adaptive Pole Top Kits (APT) can easily transform existing lighting, traffic and utility poles into 4G and/or 5G nodes. The APT line is a universal solution, which means it can be used with any pole type and accommodate any small cell configuration. They are designed for ease of installation, maintenance and flexibility. We also offer a full assortment of accessories to expand small cell coverage and can color-match existing infrastructure with over 99.9% accuracy. Valmont provides over 50% of the deployed light poles in the United States and we have the expertise to provide the perfect smart pole solution.

sitepro1.com/apt

Antenna Light Poles

Western Utility Telecom

Western Utility Telecom, Inc’s decorative antenna light poles are designed to match existing poles for minimum visual differnces by working with original lighting vendors with approved designs going back 100 years. As an AISC certified fabricator, Western Utility Telecom, Inc is also capable of custom, in-house designs tailored to clients specificications and aethsethic needs.

www.westernutilitytelecom.com
 

Company Showcase

Small Cell & DAS

Alpha Wireless

Alpha Wireless – an Irish company that designs and manufactures the world’s leading 4G and 5G antenna solutions for the wireless network industry. Our highly experienced team works with mobile operators, OEM’s, WISP’s, and neutral hosts to accelerate network deployments, lower costs, and improve performance.

B+T Group

B+T Group is a turnkey engineering, construction, and site development firm. B+T Group self performs the majority of our services led by wireless industry project managers, we strive to give our clients the best quality, service, and value in the industry. Licensed to work in all 50 states.

Clearfield

When delivering fiber to the tower, Clearfield utilizes pre‐connectorized plug‐and‐play FieldShield drop cables and microduct, FieldSmart OSP fiber enclosures and the Clearview Cassette to set the standard for a modular, scalable fiber optic network that speeds installation and maintenance – and time to customer turn up. Learn more at www.seeclearfield.com

Commscope

CommScope pushes the boundaries of communications technology with game-changing ideas and ground-breaking discoveries that spark profound human achievement. We collaborate with our customers and partners to design, create and build the world’s most advanced networks. It is our passion and commitment to identify the next opportunity and realize a better tomorrow. Discover more at commscope.com

Comptek Technologies

Comptek Technologies, an Aero Wireless Group company and developer of CityPole®, designs and manufactures innovative aesthetically‐pleasing 4G/5G concealment poles, shrouds, and mounts. Comptek solutions integrate smart infrastructure systems engineered to the technical and aesthetic standards of wireless operators, utility providers and municipalities.

Hapco

At Hapco’s world‐class manufacturing facility, advanced technologies and decades of experience combine to create superior aluminum pole products. SMART SOLUTIONS include Multi‐Chamber and Smart TRAC™ Poles and Accessories for use in Small Cell and IoT deployment. Innovative, Adaptable and Future‐Proof, Hapco delivers Smart Poles your city’s future can rely on.

NB+C

Founded in 1984, NB+C is a leading telecommunications infrastructure development company offering turnkey services for the nation’s 5G networks. We have expertise in developing both wireless and fiber networks and currently work for the top wireless, fiber, and small cell companies throughout the US.

Peabody Engineering

Industry Leader developing quality modular concealment solutions for cell sites including macro, DAS, small-cells and raw fiberglass shapes and components for field fabrication. Our design and engineering team will ensure each detail matches existing architecture & keep installation simple. Pick, place & connect! Top of the line and cost effective.

Pierson Wireless

Pierson Wireless is a full‐service wireless solutions firm that focuses on DAS for cellular enhancement or life‐safety ERRCS solutions and OnGo Private LTE for enterprise wireless connectivity.

Raycap | STEALTH

Raycap is a technology solutions provider. Raycap | STEALTH Concealment solutions in Charleston, South Carolina supports Raycap's initiative to enable the rollout of next‐generation 5G telecommunications networks via concealed small cell sites for buildings, rooftops, poles and more.

Sitetracker

Sitetracker powers the successful deployment of critical infrastructure. As the global standard for managing highvolume projects, the Sitetracker Platform enables growth‐focused innovators to optimize the entire asset lifecycle. From the field to the C‐suite, Sitetracker enables stakeholders to optimize how they plan, deploy, maintain, and grow their capital asset portfolios.

Southwire Company, LLC

Southwire offers a wide range of telecom wire and cable products to meet your project's unique requirements. From our industry recognized TelcoFlex(R) telecom power cable to tools and accessories. Southwire has you covered.

Valmont Site Pro 1

Industry-leading manufacturer and wireless site components. We offer a massive catalog of cell tower site equipment, safety gear and more. With a massive inventory in nine US locations and same day shipping, we are wherever you need us.

Western Utility Telecom

Western Utility Telecom, Inc. is an AISC certified fabricator that offers a wide range of solutions to allow utility and cellular carriers to combine power transmission and telecommunication applications. Located in Salem, Oregon, Western Utility Telecom, Inc. is a leader in quality engineered steel structures and Small Cell/DAS applications ranging from in-house design to strict build-to-print solutions.

Zenfi

ZenFi Networks is an innovative communications infrastructure company focused on enabling fiber optic network, network edge colocation and wireless siting solutions in the NY‐NJ metro region for wireless operators, wholesale and enterprise clients.

In This Issue  
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From The Editor

Happy 120th Birthday!

According to RFS CEO Monika Maurer, few companies have a history of world firsts and inven...
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FirstNet

The FirstNet Network Expands Across New York

New York’s first responders are receiving a boost in their wireless communications with th...
International Towers workers climb atop a test tower the company built near the site of its new headquarters in Marana. - Source: International Towers
5G

Taking a Closer Look at 5G mmWave Deployment Strategies

U.S. wireless operators Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and AT&T Mobility own millimete...
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5G Security

The United States and Slovenia Sign Joint Declaration on 5G Security

The U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Slovenian foreign minister, Anze Logar, ...
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Security

China Focus: State Department Adds Five Lines of Effort to Clean Path Initiative

Speaking on Aug. 5 in the press briefing room at the U.S. State Department in Washington, ...
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5G

White House Boosts 5G With DoD Spectrum-sharing Agreement

An additional 100 megahertz of contiguous, coast-to-coast mid-band radio-frequency (RF) sp...
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Business

WISP Success in CBRS Auction Good for Towers

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs), which previous survived on a diet of unlicens...
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5G Business

Workforce Development Prepares Contractor for Rising 5G Build-out

Speaking on Jan. 30 at the AGL Local Summit in Seattle, Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson Technol...
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Business

Knowing the Laws of the Land Critical to Cell Tower Siting

It wasn’t too long ago, the wireless industry was in its Wild West phase, with regional ca...
Illustration showing various poles. - Source: PortlandOregon.gov
Small Cells

Court Upholds Majority of Small Cell Order

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted in part, and denied in part...
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Business

Four Insidious Effects of a Mis-hire

The world’s innovators are calling for reinvention and transformation of human resources d...