If you rely on cell phones for connecting with your family, work, friends, in case of emergencies, or to find local businesses or directions, then this is your opportunity to get better wireless service for you and your community.
All Palo Alto residents benefit from improved Verizon Wireless service, even if they are not Verizon Wireless customers, because of the availability of the Verizon Wireless network for emergency calls should another wireless carrier’s network fail. Additionally, more than half of Palo Alto Fire Department phones use the Verizon Wireless network and depend on good coverage.
Voice your support with the City so they know you care about this issue.
If you live, work or drive in Palo Alto and rely on your cell phone to connect with your family, work, friends, in case of emergencies, or just to shop, then this is your opportunity to support better wireless service for you and your community. Voice your support to the City so they know you care about this issue. Take action towards improving wireless service in Palo Alto by:
If you value improved wireless service in Palo Alto and you support Verizon Wireless’s small cell network enhancements, then the City needs to hear from you. To show your support and let your voice be heard, take a moment to email the City. You can click to select any of the sample messages, or create your own.
Palo Alto City Hall, Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Ave.
Please contact Verizon’s representative, Frank Noto, at (415) 830-1502 for agenda updates
Advances in wireless technology allow for the miniaturization of radio equipment to be placed in Palo Alto rights-of‐way. For installations on wood utility poles in existing locations, Verizon Wireless will place a single 14.6-inch diameter by 48-inch tall antenna on top of the utility pole. Verizon Wireless will also mount three small radio boxes on the side of the pole along with low‐profile fiber and disconnect boxes. Battery backup for emergencies will be provided by either two small boxes mounted to the pole or one ground‐mounted cabinet. For installations on metal streetlight poles, Verizon Wireless will place a single 14.6-inch diameter by 24-inch tall antenna on top of the utility pole. Verizon Wireless will also mount two small radio boxes on the side of the pole. Battery backup will be provided by a ground‐mounted cabinet. Photosimulations of the small cell designs are shown below.
Since the launch of the smart phone nearly 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 Palo Alto residents, students 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. Palo Alto residents, students 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.
1. Why is Verizon Wireless proposing small cells for Palo Alto?
Demand for wireless service is expected to increase seven times between 2015 and 2021. The increased use of smart phones, tablets, health monitors and other wireless devices in every-day life relies on the Verizon Wireless network. A small cell network will add capacity and improve in-building coverage in Palo Alto neighborhoods. Small cell networks will improve voice quality, reliability and data speeds for Palo Alto residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the Verizon Wireless network.
2. Is there any benefit to me from the small cells network if I am not a Verizon Wireless customer?
Yes. I will benefit if I contact a Verizon Wireless customer or if a Verizon Wireless customer calls me. Additionally, more than half of the Palo Alto Fire Department operates using the Verizon Wireless network. Without improvements to the network, lives could be at stake. If the rest of the phone system goes down during a disaster, battery backup will continue to provide at least four crucial hours of service.
3. What is a small cell?
A small cell is a single small antenna placed on existing utility poles or street lights along with small pole-mounted radios and emergency backup batteries placed on the pole or nearby on the ground. Verizon Wireless small cells on Palo Alto utility poles would typically consist of one 48-inch tall 14.6-inch diameter antenna mounted on top of the pole and three small radio boxes plus a fiber box and disconnect switch further down the pole, with battery backup provided by two small boxes mounted to the pole or one ground-mounted cabinet nearby. Verizon Wireless small cells on Palo Alto light standards would typically consist of a 2-foot tall 14.6-inch diameter antenna mounted on top of the pole, two small radio boxes further down the pole and a ground-mounted battery cabinet nearby.
4. Are approvals required by the City of Palo Alto?
Yes. Small cells in the Palo Alto right-of-way are regulated by the Planning Division and Palo Alto Utilities. Verizon Wireless’s small cell design requires review by the Architectural Review Board as well as a conditional use permit approved by the Planning Director.
5. Are small cells safe?
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.
6. Are small cells reviewed for compliance with Federal Communications Commission exposure guidelines?
Yes. The City will review reports prepared by independent engineers that confirm the small cell design complies with FCC guidelines.
7. Where in Palo Alto are small cells proposed?
Verizon Wireless proposes to place small cells in residential areas of Palo Alto where its network is currently affected by heavy call volume and growing data demands.