The first small cell towers are appearing in Harrisburg, PA, sparking curiosity and enthusiasm from residents, reports PennLive.com. So far there are only a dozen or so poles, but there are plans to install approximately 100 of them in the state capitol. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service is already available in the nearby larger cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore.
In Harrisburg, the rollout means the addition of new cell tower poles because PennDOT regulations prohibit traffic signal units in cities the size of Harrisburg. The small cell units can be painted either dark green or grey to allow them to disappear more easily into the city landscape. The new poles also double as streetlights, replacing existing lighting or introducing new illumination to an area. Verizon’s small cells deliver 5G connections, and run simultaneously with 4G LTE service.
“Verizon uses a balanced approach to engineering the best possible network given each local community’s needs,” noted company spokesperson Chris Serico. “We work over a significant period of time with each city and follow all applicable laws, including local requirements, to develop the small cell pole designs you see today.” He added, “I can tell you we have committed to significant investment in expanding our coverage this year across the country.”
While Serico said he could not comment on the exact number of small cell units or their placement, a Verizon service map confirms that there are plans to blanket the Harrisburg area. Rebecca Stimeling, who is employed at a location across the street from one of the new poles told PennLive.com she has already noticed an improvement in response time and streaming speed.
“It’s an unusual piece of equipment,” said fellow resident Dave Manns when he first caught sight of one of the new poles. “At first, I thought it might have something to do with the sewer system,” he noted, adding that others have suggested that it might be a gunshot detector. With his background in telecommunications, Manns expressed surprise that the unit was so compact and unobtrusive. “I think it’s a good thing,” he concluded.