HomeLTELos Angeles deploying 100 light poles fitted with small cells

Los Angeles deploying 100 light poles fitted with small cells

Ericsson LTE small cells attached to lighting from Philips; builds on Philips smart lighting project in LA

In what stakeholders are calling a first-of-its-kind deployment, the city of Los Angeles is planning to install 100 Philips SmartPoles, which integrate smart lighting with Ericsson LTE small cells in an “Internet of Things” partnership between the two companies.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said coupling wireless infrastructure with lighting lets the city take “advantage of previously untapped real estate to give our streets better broadband connectivity and future-ready infrastructure, while generating revenue for the city. This project shows what smart infrastructure can do for Los Angeles: create jobs, save taxpayer dollars and improve our environment.”

L.A. is clearly a willing partner, but site acquisition – and fiber and power access – is a big challenge to the small cells industry and market outlook. Each site requires navigation of local planning and zoning procedures, which vary from town to town. Many municipalities don’t differentiate between a macro cell site and small cell site.

In Ericsson’s Technology for Good Blog, Lev Noryan, program manager for sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson Region North America, discussed the connected poles in the larger context of an IoT-enabled smart city.

“So now the streets will be brighter and the lamps will use less electricity,” Noryan wrote. “Now, the networks that transmit our texts, photos, videos, and phone calls will be more reliable and will carry more information. Is this what we call the smart city? Hardly. It’s just a start.

“The true smart city,” he continued, “will come when we take the near-term next step in leveraging the ubiquity of small cell integrated light poles and use these networks for self-driving cars and smart traffic, weather and air quality sensing, next-gen alarms and emergency help signals, city monitoring and support, and of course 5G connectivity, which will accommodate 9x data traffic growth by 2020, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.”

Back in Los Angeles, the SmartPoles project builds on an earlier deployment of Philips CityTouch, which is a cloud- and mobile-based streetlight management system, according to the company.

“The Philips SmartPole technology proves its role as the backbone in an outdoor ‘Internet of Things’ platform capable of delivering new services and value,” said Amy Huntington, president of Philips Lighting Americas. “This is also fully aligned with many of Mayor Garcetti’s key priorities and outcomes by taking LED street lighting and turning it into a services hub that can adapt to the changing needs of a particular neighborhood over time.”

Small Cell Forum Chairman Alan Law recently told RCR Wireless News the small cells market is moving into the deployment phase; this smart city initiative in Los Angeles is just one example.

Farther up the coast in San Francisco, Verizon Wireless and vendor ExteNet Systems are working to deploy some 400 small cells on power poles in the northern San Francisco and south of Market Street areas. This particular deployment is designed to support connectivity for the more than 1 million visitors expected in February for the Super Bowl. The deployment, which is also using Ericsson equipment, is ongoing.

Arun Bansal, SVP and head of business unit radio for Ericsson, said: “L.A. will be a role model for other smart cities that place sustainability and connectivity high on their agenda. As citizens, businesses and industries transform through mobility, cities have an increasingly important role to play as ecosystem partners enabling the next wave of innovations that will bring us to ‘5G’ in 2020. Innovative solutions like Philips’ SmartPoles and Ericsson’s Zero Site that efficiently improve the performance of mobile networks will be necessary to address the growing demand from both smartphone users and the [IoT].”

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