Small Cells in New Orleans, Sacre Bleu!


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Like other communities across the United States, New Orleans, Louisiana is figuring out the best way to respond to the 5G roll-out. The French Quarter Business Association (FQBA) newsletter discusses the unique concerns that their historic city faces. Recent rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ease requirements a bit by confirming that the FCC cannot disregard the importance of the National Historic Preservation Act or the National Environmental Protection Act. 

Big events already attract the attention of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, which arrive in New Orleans to handle an influx of crowds in need of wireless services. However, a permanent presence likely means the introduction of small cell towers, perhaps up to 200 of them. They would join the 74, 15-ft 4G towers already visible in the French Quarter. 

The city has not yet decided how to incorporate the 5G towers into the landscape. One proposal has suggested disguising the small cells within lampposts. It may be possible to combine 4G and 5G resources but multiple accommodations would need to be made since units need to be placed about every 300 feet. AT&T and Verizon have submitted applications to install 100, 35 to 40-foot 5G cell towers, and T-Mobile and Sprint are expected to apply as well. 

New Orleans has scheduled meetings to keep people informed and solicit feedback. While historic preservation cannot be ignored, FCC regulations mean the clock is ticking.  

December 9, 2019

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