Lancaster Enhances Connectivity with First Smart Tower Installation

October 14, 2019

 

An innovative smart tower equipped with technology to expand the city’s wireless capacity and coverage has been installed at Rawley Duntley Park. The installation is the first of several planned via the collaboration between the City of Lancaster and Landmark Infrastructure Partners LP (Landmark) to pilot the Landmark FlexGrid™ Ecosystem solution throughout the city.

Lancaster is the very first city in the nation to demonstrate this type of multi-functional infrastructure, called the Vertex Macro V1. While it may appear to be an ordinary fixture on the outside, the tower is intelligently designed to provide a more livable future. This integrated technology solution will simultaneously reduce gaps in the city’s network coverage, test new technology, add security, and generate revenue.

“From how we do business and the way we shop, to how we stay in touch with friends and family; modern technology has significantly enhanced our way of life. The addition of these Landmark towers throughout our community will help us all “work smarter,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “What’s more, these towers will enable the City’s cellular network to support the growth of smart technologies in the future – a key benefit that provides us with the opportunity to plan for imminent advancements. This is what smart city development is all about.”

Landmark’s 36-foot tall structure enables neutral colocation, meaning multiple carriers can house their communications equipment, completely concealed from view, within a single tower. This unique design allows the city’s cellular coverage to densify at a faster pace compared to typical small cell rollouts made by individual carriers.

Each tower is outfitted with video surveillance cameras, an LED luminaire, sensors, and wireless solutions for 4G and 5G technologies. A number of the pilot sites will contain batteries, providing reliable and constant power in the event of an outage during a major emergency. Lancaster will serve as a testing ground for all of these technologies, which have great potential to enhance both public safety and connectivity.

This project bears no cost for the city. Under the partnership agreement, Landmark is covering all fees, installation, and maintenance, as well as providing the City with either monthly rent or a portion of carrier revenue collected at each site.

The selection of the Rawley Duntley Park site was based on a radio frequency analysis conducted by Landmark to identify areas with poor signals from major cellular providers. Towers will be strategically placed in these areas, strengthening the coverage and quality where they are needed most. The Rawley Duntley Park tower, in particular, represents an important investment in the future, as this tower will improve service for students and faculty at the neighboring Antelope Valley College. The resulting stronger, more reliable connections will maximize a seamless learning experience on campus. Additionally, the revolution of the 5G network, once fully launched, will empower public education and the community as a whole even further.

The next smart towers will be deployed at Lancaster City Hall and Sgt. Steve Owen Park. Over the coming months, a total of fifteen installations are anticipated at various sites, including the Lancaster Metrolink Station, the Lancaster Soccer Stadium, and additional City parks.

Lancaster has been a leader in innovation and continues to implement smart city initiatives utilizing technology to improve the lives of citizens. With the arrival of this intelligent infrastructure, the City is well prepared for the simultaneous support of 5G networks, Internet of Things (IoT), wireless opportunities, and other future technologies.  

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