Explaining Small Cells to New Community – Part 2

In an initial post about explaining small cells to a new community, I commented that one should “keep it simple when trying to answer a community’s or jurisdiction’s initial question – What is a small cell?” Once you have answered that question, the next question that typically follows is, “Why do we need small cells?”

The answer to this question is also simple as long as you keep in mind that small cells are still new in a lot of communities and view the community representatives as consumers of mobile services rather than a hurdle to zoning approval.

Often, the most persuasive answer is:

  1. Twenty years ago, we used to use mobile phones for talking.  As technology evolved, we began to text, email and do clunky, slow web searches.  Now we have data intense social media and video services. In short, video requires a LOT more bandwidth.
  2. To increase bandwidth on the networks, we need a lot more cells sites that are closer to the end user.  Thus, enabling operators to use their allocated spectrum more efficiently, and our phones working optimally.

This simple answer often creates a visual that allows an individual to recall the different handsets they have owned over the years and how their mobile habits have changed. Heads sometimes begin to nod in agreement. They may even chuckle if you drop a reference to the old brick phone.

When we view them as a consumer of mobile services as well as a jurisdictional representative, they begin to understand that the evolution in handsets and how they use them logically requires a change in cell sites and how we build them. Thereby we open the door to a productive zoning conversation.