The next generation of technology for mobile device coverage and speed use what are known as “small cell facilities,” which supplement larger cell towers. Small cell facilities are the global trend for wireless infrastructure, and they are smaller, more densely placed wireless facilities that can be located on buildings, poles, and other built structures, as well as underground.
Small cell is an overarching term for wireless network sites with a low radio frequency power output, footprint, and range. Small cells can transfer data using the low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum, either licensed or unlicensed. They can also work in tandem to create a macro network to increase one or any combination of capacity, density, and coverage for wireless services, like 5G. Because small cells typically service smaller geographic areas, more are needed to complete a network necessitating a dense infrastructure.
Examples of technologies that may take advantage of small cell facilities include autonomous vehicles, smart cities, the internet of things, higher-speed cellular downloads, and other emerging telecommunication innovations. Typically, small cells are placed 600 feet apart. Mobile carriers use small cells to extend their service coverage and/or to increase their network capacity.
Watch this video to learn more about small cell.
Small Cell in Aspen
The City of Aspen is currently preparing for small cell facilities as we have received and will be approving applications facilities to be built in Aspen.
Under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and State of Colorado law, the City of Aspen can regulate certain aspects of these facilities. We cannot, however, prohibit carriers from locating in the City’s right-of-way, nor can we limit these facilities in any way based on potential health or environmental concerns. While we cannot prohibit these facilities, we have established extensive requirements to minimize aesthetic impacts and ensure compliance with FCC safety regulations.
Map of Small Cell Facilities
In Aspen, the proposed structures will take the form of streetlights and poles. This map identifies where proposed and existing small cell facilities will be/are located.