MADISON, Ala - The City of Madison is the latest city to approve the framework to allow cell carriers to install Small Cell Wireless Facilities on utility poles and other infrastructure.
The technology is small and essentially diverts cell traffic from larger towers to localized high traffic areas.
If you are on the couch and your device shows full 4G connectivity, but Facebook is still moving slow, that likely means too many people are doing the same thing and it's essentially slowing down your local cell tower.
The small cell devices take the traffic away from the tower and the technology is laying the framework for 5G.
"This is the future of wireless technology. It won't be done with the traditional large towers that we've placed in the past," said Dave Hargrove, who works in Governmental Affairs for AT&T.
As you imagine, new people are flooding into the Tennessee Valley. The infrastructure is being adjusted to fit the growth.
"The latest data I saw, was that traffic on our network has increased 470,000 percent. If we don't do something, like utilize this technology, networks are not going to perform the way we expect them to," said Hargrove.
This new technology will generate revenue for cities and local business owners. Potentially residents too. The devices have been installed on churches in the past.
The FCC allows a maximum charge of $270 per year for every unit. The carriers pay the price plus other fees to place the small cells. The City of Madison is following that FCC maximum charge.
It's not clear how many small cells will be installed, where they might be going, and when carriers will start installing them.
Each carrier has their own small cell. They cannot be shared.