How does this
affect me?

This affects you if you rely on cell phones to connect with your family, friends, or work. It affects you if you use your cell phone during emergencies or just to look up directions or local businesses. This affects you if you rely on first responders who frequently use wireless technology to support their missions.  This is your opportunity to get better wireless service for you and your neighborhood. Virginia Beach first responders leverage the Verizon Wireless Network every day for vital communications across a broad range of emergency situations, from patient treatment coordination between ambulance EMTs and hospital emergency rooms, to protecting officers in the field. At home, the Verizon Wireless Network is for more than staying connected with friends and family or entertainment online. The Network supports home security monitoring, connectivity for home health monitoring devices or even tracking a lost pet. 90% of US households use wireless service. With this increase in demand from users at home and those who work from home comes the need for more facilities to meet the customer needs. Citizens need access to 911 and reverse 911 and wireless may be their only connection. (CTIA, June 2015)

The wireless future is here with small cells.

To keep up with 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 are part of a macro-micro wireless communication coverage umbrella enabling information flow between traditional cell sites and small cells. This architecture provides higher quality of service and increased capacity to a dedicated geographic location. Small cell architecture enhances the network for users in a concentrated geographic area. The increased communication quality benefits customers during normal communication use and emergencies. Small cells are a fraction of the size of traditional communication facilities, use less power, and serve a much smaller area than traditional cell sites. The reduced size allows the small cells to attach to existing infrastructure already in the public right-of-way, such as utility poles and light standards.  

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a small cell?

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 augments 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.  Small cells can also be used to provide coverage in difficult to reach areas.

  1. Why small cells?

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.

  1. How does it work?

A small cell uses small radios and antennas placed on various types of poles like 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 use the network for ever more data reliant applications such as health monitoring, location services, and enhanced social media services.

  1. Does this replace the need for macro cell sites?

For Verizon, small cells are part of a balanced approach to network coverage and capacity. Small cells compliment a macro cell network. As a network matures both small cells and macro cells are added where needed. Macro sites provide broad coverage, while small cells provide localized coverage in difficult to reach areas and localized capacity in areas of high demand.

  1. Where will Verizon add small cells?

Verizon Wireless RF Engineers design small cell networks to add needed capacity to meet rising demand as well as to provide coverage in hard to reach areas.  As a result, small cell networks are designed from areas ranging from urban centers to residential neighborhoods where they are needed.

  1. When will small cells be installed in Virginia Beach?

 Subject to required City approvals, Verizon Wireless plans to install small cells in Virginia Beach within the next 12 months.  Traffic and parking disruptions will be minimal as work is completed in phases.

  1. Are small cells reviewed for compliance with FCC safety guidelines?

Yes. All small cells must comply with the same stringent FCC standards under which macro communications sites are reviewed and regulated.

  1. Are small cells safe?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 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:

FDA: The Food and Drug Administration’s Cell phone website

EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency’s overview of cell phone safety: Cell phone safety

CTIA:  Wireless Industry Trade Association’s wireless health facts: http://www.wirelesshealthfacts.comWireless Emissions Bar Graph Comparison and Small Cell Chart

For additional facts about RF, click here.