The city has selected CNX for a master planning regarding small cells installation to provide density for 5G, smart city projects

CNX, a firm which focuses on the provision of broadband master planning and program management services to municipalities across the U.S, announced a new partnership with the City of Knoxville, in Tennessee. The long-term goal is to lay the groundwork for 5G networks and support smart city-related projects.

Knoxville has selected CNX to provide wireless and telecommunications consultation services including: reviewing existing guidelines and regulations for small cell installations on city right-of-way, inventorying city owned assets, and creating a program to manage requests to attach to city owned infrastructure.

“We are proud to partner with the City of Knoxville to help them prepare their city for small cell deployment.  By taking steps to inventory their publicly owned assets and modernize their ordinances, the city will be well positioned to deploy 5G services more quickly,” CNX Regional Director, Hunter Stuart said.

In order to meet growing demand for wireless services, carriers will seek to deploy hundreds of thousands of small cells in densely populated urban areas. These small cells can be installed on existing city owned infrastructure like light poles.

CNX said that work is already underway with the city staff to develop a comprehensive city-wide policy to help streamline requests for cell towers, micro-cells and distributed antenna systems on publicly owned assets. CNX has agreed to deliver a full plan to the City by the end of March 2018.

“As telecommunication companies move forward with small cell installations, our emphasis is on Knoxville being a smart city. That means moving toward everyone having access to this new infrastructure, but installing it in ways that protect the interests of the city and the aesthetics of our neighbourhoods,” said Jim Hagerman, the City’s Director of Engineering.

According to a recent report published by the Small Cell Forum, operators are planning to deploy small cells to support 5G services. Of the operators surveyed, 40% “expect to deploy between 100 and 350 small cells per square kilometer in the areas they densify (led by transport hubs, urban downtown regions and business parks).”

Although operators have varying timelines for 5G commercialization, “69% of operators planning 5G deployment before 2023 expect to start small cell deployment in tandem with the macro, or ahead of it.” The majority of operators surveyed, 58%, will “focus primarily on small cells” in the first two to three years of 5G deployment,” while 37% will work “to densify the network for enhanced mobile broadband, and 21% to enable new use cases.”

“The industry is seeing explosive growth in the number of small cell deployments, which provide the densification solution to grow today’s LTE networks, as well as providing a fundamental building block for tomorrow’s 5G deployments,” David Orloff, Small Cell Forum chairman, said.

AT&T highlighted that 5G services will rely on small cells deployed closer to the ground than the tower top radios that support LTE. The telco confirmed it will use small cells for the deployment of 5G services this year in 12 markets across the U.S.

In November 2017, T-Mobile US said that it was aiming to deploy 2,000 more small cells by the end of 2017, which will add to its currently installed base of 3,000 small cells. The carrier said that it has 25,000 small cell units contracted most of which will be deployed during 2018.

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