Survey Says Small Cells Welcome… But Not in My Front Yard


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Consumers are overwhelmingly in favor of the better reception delivered by small cells, so long as the units are in neighboring yards, according to an Axios survey. Axios reviewed data from 800 consumers from a survey conducted by PWC and concluded that although respondents did not want a booster unit on their own property, they were fine with visible units in someone else’s yard.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the appearance of small cell units does not seem to cause the amount of agitation that full fledged cell towers can generate. A large majority of respondents, 86 percent, said they’re comfortable with units that “blend in with their surroundings.” A small percentage, 74 percent, said no camouflage is fine if the small cell isn’t directly in front of their own house.   

A surprising 60 percent of respondents were not deterred by the sight of small cells and were only concerned about better cell service. The results seem to contradict worries expressed by Brookhaven, Georgia City Manager Christian Sigman, who noted, “It’s one thing to see the installation of the 5G boxes on poles on a main corridor that doesn’t offend people. But if you’re in a heavily residential area and you’re not expecting to see that type of thing, it’s almost like having a power transformer in your front yard. People are not going to like those.”

The overall mood suggests that even when people aren’t sure about what 5G offers, they are relatively welcoming. In separate survey questions, 49 percent of respondents said they were both excited about 5G, and willing to pay more for it. However, only seven percent said they understood the difference between 4G and 5G.  

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