The process of cell tower site selection is a topic that produces the most inquiries from property owners across the nation. Securing cell tower locations is the result of a cell phone carrier working with their internal engineering staff to satisfy specific needs that company has in certain locations throughout the country. The engineering aspect is classified as “Radio Frequency Engineering” or RF Engineering, for short. RF engineers must act in concert with its company’s site development and construction staff to optimize any cell tower site development and related construction projects it may have scheduled.
A cell tower company has a purpose in mind for previously built cell towers and future cell towers. A vast majority of the time a tower development project is for the purpose of meeting the present needs of its cell phone customers or to help increase those same customers’ (as well as future customers’) usage of their cell phone, internet and other wireless devices and services. How does the construction of a new cell tower improve a wireless carrier’s customer service?
The following are some ways that is a customer is enriched:
•Signal Strength/Coverage: Cell towers are built to eliminate those locations were that cell phone company’s services are lacking, known as the infamous “Dead Spot”. RF Engineers determine where there are high rates of service interruption due to either interference or cell phone signal issues, then, a new cell tower site will be selected and
developed to eliminate these dead areas.
•Data Usage Capacity: With the high demand for wireless connectivity to multiple devices and the data usage required for these devices, there must be an adequate amount of cell towers to facilitate such demand. The main reasons new cell tower locations are being constructed are to meet these growing data usage needs and technological advancements.
•Call Clarity & Network Speed: The telecom industry is a complex industry but like most, it relies on increasing its customer base and satisfying the needs of its existing customers. If a cell phone carrier’s customers can’t make calls or retrieve data, it will not be in business very long. Therefore, cell towers must be constructed to make sure
customer needs are met.
What Types of Properties Are Selected?
Commercial buildings, municipal structures and other suitable facilities with flat roof tops or other available sites located in urban and industrial areas are targeted by wireless carriers. These structures/facilities are usually at a minimum of 40 feet in height and in areas meeting certain setback and structural load criteria. If a property owner
has available rooftop or similar space, it must not only meet the cell phone carrier’s requirements but any local municipalities’ zoning and permitting requirements as well. As referenced above, these requirements may include how much equipment may be located on a rooftop, height restrictions and even setback requirements.
Cell phone carriers must meet needs as it relates to the ground space requirements for the selection, development and construction of new towers. The primary focus of wireless providers and tower companies is leasing ground space in both urban and rural areas. Cell phone carriers are generally looking for locations that have at least 1,500 square feet of ground space.
Cell phone carriers are always reviewing areas to make sure they are meeting the needs of their customers. As these needs are determined and the cell phone carriers have the capital budgets required, cell tower sites and facilities will be constructed and developed. Technology dependent upon a wireless signal will only continue to grow, warranting
a need for faster, broader networks and cell towers that can facilitate service for these networks.
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