Scaling Small Cells One Community at a Time
Small cells are still new to most communities, and each community must go up its own learning curve and develop its deployment guidelines. No two cities are the same, and each must make its own decisions.
A recent article in RCR Wireless News highlights some challenges faced on a Verizon deployment in Palo Alto, California. As the article notes that due to “the unique nature of each site and the regulatory process that governs a particular location, it’s difficult to establish a scalable, predictable process.”
But scale can be achieved.
Md7 is currently working on small cell deployments in over twenty-five cities. As this number continues to increase we have found that several aspects of small cell deployments can scale. For example, site walks and CAD designs can be standardized on a single pole type within a community. Thus, as noted in RCR, the work can often be completed in hours or days. But we do have to wait for each community to make aesthetic decisions which can take months.
As we work across more communities, we are learning how to reduce the wait time. We are learning how to educate communities on the need for small cells. We are getting much more efficient and wiser in our submissions. And we are learning to steer and advise communities as they make decisions.
Small cells fit very well in the Md7 business model of efficiency gained through scale and standardization of process. Economies of scale in some areas are quick, and others will take more time. However, even the challenges we face are beginning to nicely iron out as we work across more communities.