This affects you if you rely on cell phones to connect with your family, friends, or work. It affects you if you expect to use your cell phone during emergencies or even if you just want to look up directions to a local restaurant. This is your opportunity to get better wireless service for you and your neighbors.
All Austin area residents will benefit from improved Verizon Wireless service, even if they are not Verizon Wireless customers. First, the small cell network will relieve congestion on the Verizon Wireless network serving Austin by providing additional capacity during peak times of the day or night. This added capacity improves Verizon Wireless’s network for all of Austin by off-loading calls and data demands from existing facilities. Second, these enhancements will improve the network for all of the area’s first responders. Finally, should another wireless carrier’s network fail, the Verizon Wireless network is available to all users for emergency calls and text messages.
First responders across Austin are regularly using the Verizon Wireless Network for vital communications across a broad range of emergency situations. These teams use the network for situations such as cardiac monitoring between ambulance EMTs and hospital emergency rooms. They also use it to protect officers in the field by providing vital off-radio channels for mission critical police work. Additionally, cellular service is vital in areas prone to strong storms, tornados, extreme heat and other weather related emergencies.
In the home, the Verizon Wireless Network is used for more than just staying connected with friends and family or online entertainment. The Network also supports new types of connections such as wireless home security monitoring, home health monitoring devices or even tracking a lost pet.
As of the latest surveys, over 90% of US households use wireless service. With this steady increase in demand comes the need for upgrades in equipment to meet customer needs. Citizens need access to 911 and wireless phones may be their only connection. (CTIA, June 2015)
To stay ahead of demand, Verizon is deploying new technology commonly referred to as small cells. A small cell network adds coverage, capacity, and increases connection speed so that more users can connect to reliable high-speed wireless service where they live, work and play. Small cells provide targeted coverage and capacity to compliment the macro cellular communication coverage umbrella enabling information flow between traditional cell sites and small cells. This design provides higher quality service and increased capacity to a dedicated geographic location. Small cell sites enhance the network for users in the selected geographic small cell area. The increased network quality helps customers during normal communication use and in emergencies.
Small cells are a fraction of the size of traditional communication towers. They use a fraction of the power and serve a much smaller area than traditional cell sites. The reduced size allows the small cells to attach to existing wooden utility poles and street lights.
Since the launch of the smart phone more than 10 years ago, Verizon Wireless has been introducing new technologies to meet service capacity demands. Today, reliable service and in-building coverage are essential to the everyday lives of Austin area residents, commuters and workers. Over the past year, the demand for Verizon Wireless voice and data services has nearly doubled, and network enhancements are required to keep up with this ever‐increasing demand. Maintaining a highly reliable, high-speed, high-capacity network is also critical to emergency communications.
Austin residents, commuters and workers depend on this reliability of the Verizon Wireless network, especially to communicate with emergency professionals during times of crisis – including police, fire, ambulance and hospital calls.
A small cell is just like the name implies. Small cells are short range mobile cell sites used to complement larger macro cells (or cell towers). A small cell complements Verizon’s capacity in a given area. It consists of a radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection. Small cells enable the Verizon network team to strategically add capacity to high traffic areas.
Demand for wireless data services has grown 18-fold over the past 5 years. Small cells are part of Verizon’s network strategy to provide reliable service and keep up with this booming demand for wireless data. Small cell networks add capacity in small specific areas to improve in-building coverage, voice quality, reliability, and data speeds for local residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the Verizon Wireless network.
A small cell uses small radios and antennas placed on various types of poles like wooden utility poles, street lights, or new poles in the public right-of-way. The coverage area can range from a few hundred feet to upwards of 1,000 ft. depending on topography, capacity needs, and more. This small focused footprint supports the latest technology-enabled devices, allowing more consumers to do things like stream video or share photos on social media during events.
Verizon first began adding small cells in late 2013 across the country to meet community needs. We have started adding sites throughout the Austin area, many of which are in densely populated areas.
For Verizon, small cells are part of a balanced approach to network capacity. Verizon will continue to add traditional macro cell sites, expand its wireless footprint for increased capacity and coverage, and will keep investing in the things that keep its network running, even during times of disaster – battery back-up, generators, mobile cell sites, and more.
Verizon looks to add small cells in areas ranging from urban centers to residential communities where there is a need for extra capacity to serve customers to stay ahead of the demand for wireless data.
Yes. All small cells must comply with the same stringent standards under which macro communications sites are reviewed and regulated.
The Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with multiple federal agencies, sets federal government safety standards regarding small cells. Those standards have wide safety margins and are designed to protect everyone, including children, and were established after close examination of research that scientists in the US and around the world conducted for decades. The research continues to this day, and agencies continue to monitor it.
Scientists have studied potential health effects of RF emissions from cell phones for decades. Based on all the research, federal agencies have concluded that equipment that complies with the safety standards poses no known health risks. And advisers to the World Health Organization have specifically concluded that the same goes for 5G equipment. In fact, the RF safety standards adopted by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are even more conservative than the levels adopted by some international standards bodies.
FCC: The FCC provides information about the safety of RF emissions from cellular base stations on its website at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html.
FDA: The Food and Drug Administration’s Cell phone website.
EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s overview of cell phone safety: Cell phone safety.
Have questions or comments? Contact Verizon at STXNeworkCommunityOutreach@verizonwireless.com.