Poles Go Up in Denver as Does Opposition To Them

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UPDATE Most of Denver’s neighborhoods are receiving brand new small cell sites, and the equipment is blending in so well residents are lucky if they notice any aesthetic changes. According to Denverite, Theodore Oyler only noticed the new towers on October 12. Oyler said, “It was just a fluke that we even saw it.” The 30 foot poles are being installed after Colorado passed legislation, SB152, making it easier for small cells to be installed in the public right-of-way. City records show Verizon has installed 166 small cells so far this year, and almost a dozen other companies are constructing their own sites. While Oyler said noticing the tower was a “fluke,” he also complained it was an eyesore for his Cheesman Park neighborhood.

Councilman Wayne New said installs are occurring “all across the city.” He hopes carriers and other companies can use existing street poles and co-location to keep the number of new installations to a minimum. Operating from existing utilities in Denver is complicated. Many poles are owned by Xcel Energy and other utilities, and require written agreements with other companies to add equipment. Currently, Mobilitie, AT&T, and Verizon have thirteen open proposals for more small cell locations. 

Denver officials already have convinced Xcel to offer up some of its poles for “co-location,” but the cell companies aren’t exactly rushing to use them, New said. “With Verizon, we met with them and a couple of the representatives were just totally uncooperative,” he said. “It was unbelievable. It was like they didn’t care whether there were multiple poles or not.”

Verizon spokesperson Meagan Dorsch stated the company is “committed to following all local processes around small cell deployment,” but notes that due to differences in carrier needs and equipment, “co-location is not always an option.” Xcel, meanwhile, says it already makes space available and is working on agreements to expand that practice with more companies, the Denverite reported.

November 3, 2017                 

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