The deployment of 5G brings far reaching promises for digital equity and inclusion, city services, underserved communities, education, healthcare, and more. Unfortunately, the rapid deployment of infrastructure to support 5G networks is often hindered by right-of-way construction demands, aesthetic requirements, or availability of the workforce, according to Jim Lockwood, CEO and founder of Comptek Technologies. “Pressure is on the wireless carriers to deploy 5G wireless technologies, increase 4G and WiFi coverage to expand their cellular and wireless data connectivity for mobile users and provide the 5G and IoT platform for smart city initiatives,” he says. The pandemic also brought to the forefront the need to bridge the gaps of technology access to underserved urban and rural communities for workers, education and residents.
Comptek Technologies’ roots in bringing innovative infrastructure solutions to market run deep. Established by Lockwood in 1998 as Comptek Structural Composites in New York, the company introduced the first non-welded carbon fiber reinforcing system for strengthening macro cell towers. The system proved to be a safer technology than welding reinforcing steel that created a fire hazard. The company brought its non-welded tower reinforcements to market through the formation of Aero Solutions. It partnered with Paul J. Ford & Company which provided early industry expertise and engineering nationally. Aero Solutions expanded its non-welded tower reinforcements to include the MP3 steel reinforcement system. Aero Solutions grew rapidly as a design/build provider, completing over 4,000 tower modifications for the major wireless operators collocating antennas.
Comptek Technologies’ participation in WIA’s Innovation Technology Council (ITC), engagement in industry forums and customer discussions brought to light the demand for new infrastructure solutions to support large scale small cell deployments by 2015. “It was quickly apparent that this technology was going to be very important for our industry,” says Lockwood.
He established Comptek Technologies in 2016 to offer an expanded product line of concealment structures, starting with the CityPole® in Denver, one of the earliest fully concealed poles in the U.S. for 4G and 5G large scale deployments. The CityPole® was soon recognized as an industry standard in the U.S. and is today designed and manufactured by Comptek Technologies as a modular solution. “It offers flexibility required for the evolving use cases and changes in radio equipment,” explains Lockwood.
In 2019, the CityPole® was also the concealment streetlight pole of choice deployed by Xcel Energy. “It was important that it be a standard light pole that could be used anywhere in their region,” says Lockwood. “We’re installing about 1,000 poles a year with Xcel.”
Comptek Technologies is nationally approved by major wireless operators and public and private utilities for its concealment streetlight structures and concealment shrouds. From the California coast, where Comptek Technologies’ products have been approved by the Bureau of Street Lighting, to the east coast, where they’ve been approved by Florida Power & Light, the company, “understands architecture and aesthetics,” says Lockwood.
Comptek Technologies, recently brought on board as a member of Qualcomm’s Smart City Accelerator program, is integrating IoT, WiFi and other smart technologies into its smart poles. It’s also introducing a line of concealed EV Chargers into its light pole structures in 2021, in support of an emerging electric vehicle market. The company is ISO 9001:2015 certified.
Since Lockwood’s start in New York, the business has evolved into three companies under the Aero Wireless Group – Comptek Technologies, Aero Solutions and Aero Smart Communities, the latter providing infrastructure consulting and guidelines for smart pole deployments.
Looking ahead, Lockwood believes it will be increasingly important that wireless providers and municipalities partner to leverage existing infrastructure and prepare new infrastructure with future wireless, IoT technologies, energy planning and aesthetics in mind. Areas of opportunity include RF transparent shrouding, energy storage for network power and more multi-technology initiatives, including environmental sensors. “We’re constantly developing new ways to propel the industry forward,” says Lockwood.
The company is headquartered today in Boulder, CO with offices nationally.
For more information about Comptek Technologies products and its affiliated service companies, visit www.comptektechnologies.com.