About Urban Wireless
COVID-19 will certainly change the way we manage our lives and businesses going forward. It has also brought to light that as a society we were woefully underprepared to handle such a crisis. Even before we knew what COVID-19 was, however, municipalities and other governmental entities were seeing a dramatic increase in requests and inquiries to locate wireless infrastructure within their public right of ways and public spaces by the wireless companies and related businesses. The Coronavirus pandemic has just shifted those efforts into light speed.
Pre-Coronavirus, the term you heard most often was “5G.” Now its “5G” and “broadband,” as it is now realized that with more work from home and remote learning, our “wireless” infrastructure as a whole needs to be revamped and re-prioritized.
5G will continue to lead the conversation. 5G technology will provide faster wireless speeds in areas of high population density, particularly faster download and upload speeds for data. 5G infrastructure in large part includes the deployment of many small cell sites (commonly called small cells or nodes) on structures such as light poles, utility poles or other structures located within public rights of way or in public spaces. It should be noted that we primarily talk in terms of “5G” when discussing small cells, but the fact is that the wireless providers are also deploying 4G small cells in areas of need.
No matter whether it is 4G or 5G, what all of this means is that municipalities and other governmental entities are going to continue receiving a sea of applications, inquiries and demands coming to them from the wireless providers. All are going to expect prompt review and issuance of permits no matter what else jurisdictions have on their plates and if the jurisdiction doesn’t respond favorably, legal action will be threatened.
The FCC and many state legislatures have adopted regulations and statutes requiring municipalities and other governmental entities to make access to their public rights of way and other public spaces to the wireless companies for little or no cost and do their reviews expeditiously. The rationale is that it is imperative to get high speed wireless service deployed to the masses as soon as possible and ahead of our foreign competitors. The Federal government and state governments feel that by reducing some of the barriers that have been realized by wireless providers in the past. Municipalities have not viewed these actions very favorably. Common opinions have been that these actions are essentially requiring local governments and their taxpayers, to subsidize the wireless industry and that they represent an unconstitutional infringement of their sovereign powers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of broadband infrastructure in this country has also risen to the forefront. With shelter in place orders, work from home orders, remote learning, telehealth and online business becoming the norm rather then the exception, the term “digital divide” has become part of our regular vocabulary. What has been exposed is how many parts of our country are either inadequately served or under served period by broadband infrastructure/high speed internet. This has actually been known for some time, but now there is urgency behind it.
Education has been the primary focal point of this discussion, as many rural areas and areas of the fringes of developed areas simply do not have robust internet to accommodate proper online learning. Now that many school administrators around the country are being faced with the prospect of not going back to the classroom any time soon, communities are looking for answers.
This is not just an education problem, however. It’s a medical problem. It’s a business problem. This pandemic is going to change the way we conduct our lives forever. Wireless communication and the internet are going to be more important than ever.
Unfortunately, the root of the problem in getting broadband everywhere is money or lack thereof. Congress says it will be throwing more money at this issue in the coming months. This is all well and good, but the fact is not enough to completely solve the problem and with the many other priorities that now face the Country to recover from this crisis, who really knows how much money the government can really throw at it. In addition, as we have seen with the small business loans and other financial relief provided by the government through this time, the process is usually not easy to navigate, and it is not timely. People and communities want help now. Now more than ever, it is important for public/private partnerships be fostered to really make a dent in this problem. Urban Wireless Solutions has the personnel and resources to help communities develop creative solutions for getting broadband to those in need.
Historically, local government, the wireless industry and the cable companies have had a long-standing love-hate relationship. It has become increasingly clear, however, that this relationship needs to become less adversarial and more cooperative. People and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on wireless communications and broadband. Local governments, utility providers and other entities are, as well. The COVID-19 crisis has born that out. These relationships need to be fostered and facilitated so that robust wireless and broadband ecosystems can be developed throughout the country.
As most municipal officials will acknowledge, over the last several years they and their staffs have had to learn to do more with less. Revenues have decreased, and manpower has been likewise reduced. Local governments have had to adjust and learn different ways to provide the basic services its citizens expect. In many cases, services have had to be cut, and programs have had to be cut. Now comes the onslaught from the wireless industry to deploy its latest technology, expecting local government to review and approve their requests quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic has likewise put additional pressures on local government officials to find solutions to their broadband problems It is being demanded of local officials to review new technologies, putting them in positions that they are not necessarily well suited or experienced. This is where Urban Wireless Solutions can help.
Urban Wireless Solutions (UWS) can assist local officials navigate through the rules and regulations that have been imposed on them by state and Federal bodies and provide guidance on how best to handle the demands of the wireless industry that are here. UWS can help communities develop short term and long range plans to work with the telecommunications industry with regard to wireless and broadband matters. UWS’ staff is made up of individuals that have years of experience in the wireless industry and understand the needs of the wireless carriers and related entities. There have been years of mistrust between local governments and the wireless and cable industries with one side constantly feeling like the other is taking advantage of the other or simply preventing the other from doing its job. UWS understands both sides and their respective goals and objectives. UWS staff includes those that have worked on both sides of the fence. UWS’ goal, while representing the municipality is to provide a result that is reasonable and beneficial for both sides so that the ultimate beneficiary of improved service is the wireless customer/taxpayer.
Urban Wireless Solutions can provide the following services:
- Develop creative broadband solutions for areas of need, fostering coalitions among relevant
stakeholders, aiding in finding economic resources and developing plans of implementation.
- Advise jurisdictions on trends in the wireless industry and how newly adopted rules and
regulations impact the jurisdiction so that they stay in compliance with their mandates.
- Work with local governmental entities to develop and implement long range plans for wireless in
- Take and keep an inventory of a jurisdiction’s vertical assets and public spaces that may be
considered for the deployment of wireless infrastructure.
- Act as a liaison between the governmental entity and the wireless entity.
- Assist in the negotiation of wireless agreements, such as leases and agreements for use of rights
of way and or public spaces.
- Provide engineering advice as it pertains to wireless infrastructure.
- Other services that can benefit the local government as it relates to the wireless industry.
UWS is a one-stop consulting service for governmental entities and their interactions with the wireless
industry. Let us take the burden off you and your staff to navigate through these muddy waters and the
future of wireless.
Who is Urban Wireless
To foster a cooperative, not adversarial, relationship between local government and the wireless
industry. To connect cities to the future for the future.
Wireless technology is obviously here to stay. It becomes a larger part of our lives every day. At UWS, we believe that the industry and communities need each other to take advantage of synergies that exist between the two entities. UWS wants to bring those to the forefront and make wireless work for everybody.
UWS will bring its wealth of experience and knowledge, along with its work ethic, to the client for achieving a wireless solution that best serves the community and its constituents. UWS will make every effort possible to arrive at this solution cooperatively with the wireless industry. However, UWS will represent its clients vigorously and will make every attempt to reach mutually beneficial results without sacrificing the best interest of the community.
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