San Jose Secures $5 Million Small Cell Deal with AT&T

In a new agreement, AT&T will pay the city of San Jose approximately $5 million over a maximum 15-year period to deploy 170 small cells on existing public assets, reported LightReading.

The telecom company will pay an upfront fee of $850,000 to fund new public works staff to help with small cell permitting transactions, and another $1 million to help improve the city’s permitting processes, according to LightReading. The deal is beneficial for both sides, as the city will collect additional revenue and the carrier will receive a blanket agreement for small cell deployments.  San Jose is also focused on ensuring that improved connectivity is accessible to all. CIO Shireen Santosham notes that the city has taken the novel approach of dedicating funding from utility pole rentals to digital inclusion efforts.  

“This model is certainly a pioneering model. I don’t think any other city that I know of has really taken the revenues from these deals and earmarked them in this way specifically to bridge the digital divide,” says Santosham.  

AT&T vice president of technology planning Jason Porter, sees the agreement as a sound financial investment. “We’re looking at the broader community so if we can do something where we provide some revenue for the city, but we can offset that with revenue we gain by being in that area…and we think [that] will drive additional revenue into AT&T, then that’s a benefit.”

AT&T plans to emulate the model used in San Jose elsewhere, according to Porter. The carrier is “working to design these cities” in tandem with local entities in order to deploy the FirstNet network, prepare for 5G, and support future IoT applications.

May 16, 2018

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