G2 is experiencing robust activity in its core cellular tower services as a result of the continued deployment of 5G networks nationwide and the recent $65 billion federal investment to bring additional cellular and fiber services to underserved areas.
Despite a cumbersome launch, 5G rollout has greatly accelerated over the past two years with all major carriers now offering some level of 5G service. As new towers are erected, or as 5G capabilities are added to existing towers, G2 works with a host of clients to provide engineering and environmental services to ensure sites meet the local, state, and federal regulations.
“As the 5G rollout continues, we’re living in a world where a single tower may support multiple carriers, multiple technologies and an array of equipment,” said Anthony Poisson, P.E., from G2’s Chicago area office. “Increasing the tower load requires careful engineering due diligence and may trigger additional permitting and permissions, all areas where G2 is uniquely qualified to help as we continue to work with telecom clients nationwide.”
Poisson suggests the following as due diligence best practice:
1) Ground conditions: Understanding the geotechnical conditions on-site is critical for cellular towers. Not only do you have to ensure the tower foundation is stable, owners and carriers also have to understand how adding or subtracting weight will impact the structural capacity of the tower and foundations. G2 has provided geotechnical investigations and foundation mapping services across the county to provide the information required for design of new tower foundations and analysis of existing foundations.
2) Regulatory environment: Although the Federal Communication Commission governs much of cellular tower regulation, the myriad of other local, state, federal and tribal authorities laws are equally important. This includes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which created strict rules to govern call tower ecological impact. G2 has nearly 30 years of experience on cellular projects and can help clients untangle the complex web of regulations.
3) Macro towers: Many tower companies and/or carriers are upgrading existing towers with 5G capabilities, effectively integrating new infrastructure into the current network. It’s important to note that these existing cell towers may also continue transmitting 4G signals and contain other hardware for respective service areas. Integrating the new tech requires careful coordination.
4) Small cell: In addition to towers, 5G coverage requires carriers to add at least 250,000 new small cell sites nationwide. Though these small cell technologies perform similar functions, they’re not your typical cell tower. While most current cell towers are large, freestanding structures, the small cell “towers” required by 5G are much smaller devices that can be mounted on existing infrastructure like traffic lights, lampposts, rooftops or other appropriate spot in urban spaces where licensing and construction issues can be particularly difficult.
5) Securing older equipment: With all the talk of new technologies, it’s easy to forget that many towers have been around for 25 years or more and subject to all sorts of weather and environmental conditions. Further, most of the tower equipment is located at or near the tower’s highest point. This “pressure at the top” cause structural stress over time. Tower companies need to shore up these older sites both to bring them into current code and to ensure they can safely accommodate the new equipment.
“5G is an exciting technology often delivering 20x speeds to help America keep up with its data demands. G2 works with telecom companies as they navigate the challenges to ensure a smooth, safe and efficient implementation, both to satisfy immediate need while also protecting the environment and safety within and adjacent to the tower areas,” Poisson said.
Specializing in “everything below the ground,” G2 prides itself in finding practical solutions to complex problems and delivering ‘Smart. Results. Fast.’ The company has completed thousands of telecom projects across the county and has the expertise to make your project a success.