While at a local church, where my neices were having a piano recital ... I discovered that the church also concealed a cell tower.
This led to a discussion about such towers. It seems that the number of cell tower will likely drop substantially in the next few years. The reason is a direct consequence of our conversion to digital TV.
The old TV wavebad will be assigned to cell uses - with the difference being that the TV bands have much greater range - as much as 4x. This means that one tower will be able to replace 50.
Now ... that means that 49 towers will be decomissioned. I want to point out that each of those abandoned towers has a generator - which will turn up on the surplus market.
Folks, we're going to be installing a heck of a lot of used generators in the next few years - and a large number are likelly to be Generac.
Generac has a reputation of being cheap to instal, and difficult / expensive to maintain .... with plenty of proprietary parts.
Reno: I hope the tower guys over here don't read this post. The existing towers are being all upgraded to 800 amp, 120/208 3 phase, 4 wire with 6 to 8 meter stacks. That was mandated by the POCO to 'clean-up' the multi drop jobs that were added to over the years. There also is a 'new' carrier popping up at most of the sites.
I never counted the sites, but there must be at least 25 within the twp.
I would not be too sure about that Reno (or it is St. Louie now?). I know someone who is or was working all over North and South America dismantling old towers, packing them up, shipping them to South America and rebuilding them, lock, stock and barrel. They could not do it fast enough. Our "junk" technology is another country gold mine.
The same thing happened with mechanical and analog central office switches that telcos used. They went to third-world countries as quickly as they could be dismantled. One man's trash truly is another man's treasure.
I just came back in from doing some last minute grocery shopping and looking the towers on the way home got me wondering if things are different in the US regarding backup power for cell sites. I got the impression from Reno's post that where he is they all have gen sets.
It doesn't appear to be a requirement in Manitoba/Canada. None of the standalone ones I pass each day have any connection to the natural gas mains to power a Generac type set.
There was only one that I saw that had a pin & sleeve connector on the wall for external power and that was near the local fire hall.
I understand that if the transmitters get more powerful they would need less of them but the other part to cel technology is the need for sensitive receivers to collect the weak transmissions from the handsets. They certainly are not going to make cell phones more powerful. their already small transmitting power is constantly being challenged by health regulators. A TV Cell tower might relocate or remove a tel only tower that is in close proximity but any tower needed to receive signals is still going to be installed in the coverage patterns necessary to receive those handset signals
I used to work for a telecommunications company. Among the many different jobs I had with that company, I helped install the cellular communications infrastructure in and around Bogota Colombia.
Among the things that I learned and/ or observed are: - We were installing the same equipment down there that we were installing in North America. I also know that the technology down there has kept pace with up here. (Also, they pay less for their cell phone services than we pay in Canada.) - I doubt that there is much land line equipment being installed outside of large urban areas. It's just that much cheaper to put up a tower than to run copper (or fiber) cable. - All cell sites and central offices have battery backup that is supposed to keep the office operating for 8 hours in the event of a power outage. So if the local power supply is reliable and the possibility of an outage lasting more than 8 hours is remote, than there's no need to install a backup generator.
There will not be a reduction in the number of towers. Sprint-Nextel is the only cell phone rebanding. There are a lot of tower consolidation. This is due to most cell phone co selling there tower sites to tower co. When this is done the tower co allow several cell phone co to co-locate on the same tower. Although this was somewhat common in the past (multi-meter sites) in areas that had tower restrictions, it is common now. Cell phone co do not have to maintain the tower, tower lighting (if over 200')and site maintenance. The tower co assumes this responsibility. If the tower requires lighting, a bad strobe or tower light can cost the owner $4000.00 + a day in fines. All towers are required to have a FCC number posted. (No number will also get a fine)