Crown Castle Installation of Small Cell Systems
Crown Castle has begun the installation of distributed antenna systems (DAS) facilities on utility poles throughout the Township. The installation of DAS facilities is a permitted use under Ordinance 2150 as long as the company installing the software has the proper permits. Township Ordinance 2150 was established in early 2018 in response to Crown Castle challenging the validity of Township Ordinances #1793 and #1800. Ordinance 2150 was created to provide more clear regulations of the installation of wireless communication equipment within the public right-of-way that protects the residents of the Township of Abington from visual impact that such installation may cause while meeting requirements of the State and Federal law for allowable uses.
What are DAS facilities?
DAS facilities are used by network providers to enhance network signals without having to build large antenna towers. DAS facilities are much smaller and typically work as an amplifier converting a weak signal into a stronger signal and then redirecting it to the appropriate location to maintain network connections and meet the expectations of wireless consumers.
Why are DAS facilities being installed?
As new technology is introduced and reliance on wireless networks continues to expand, internet and mobile connections become slower as data is not able to move efficiently. Communities throughout the country have begun to experience delays in phone and internet services due to lack of coverage and/or a lack of capacity of the network to move the amount data being exchanged at once. DAS facilities seek to reduce delays currently being experienced, while increasing capacity of the network for future demand.
Additionally, DAS facilities allow for signals to originate in multiple locations reducing impacts from large buildings, tree canopies and topographical changes that have traditionally impacted wireless services resulting in poor or lost connections.
What systems are Crown Castle installing?
Crown Castle is installing small cell networks comprised of a small low powered antennas connected by fiber optic cable. This equipment is being attached to infrastructure in the public right of way, such as utility poles and street lights. The small cell network is able to handle large amounts of data and move it quickly, increasing the capacity of the existing network, without building large cellular towers.
Where are these facilities being installed?
To date, 18 locations have been approved in the Roslyn and Ardsley sections of the Township for DAS technology. The expectation is that the Township will continue to receive applications for the distribution of equipment throughout the Township.
What is the approval process?
In order for such facilities to be installed in Abington Township, they first must be reviewed by the Township’s Engineering Services and receive proper approvals. DAS facilities require a public right of way permit; review and seal of plans by a 3rd party agency that they are mechanically and structurally sufficient; and approval from the Township Zoning Officer that the plans are in compliance with Ordinance 2150.
Are DAS facilities safe?
The FCC regulates these facilities not the Township. Crown Castle has stated on its website that the equipment operates well below the FCC’s guidelines for safe radio frequency exposure.