Cell phone node added in Carnegie
A cell phone node will be added to the top of a telephone pole in the 300 block of Franklin Avenue in Carnegie in an effort to bolster coverage in the area.
Crown Castle, a neutral host provider, was granted a conditional use by Carnegie council members on May 13 to locate the node on top of the pole.
A node, according to Crown Castle’s website, is a series of small low-powered antennas.
As part of the project, the pole located at 301 Franklin Avenue will be replaced with a taller pole, said Duncan Ackerman, government relations specialist with Crown Castle. The existing pole is 19 feet high and the new pole will top 31 feet, which is similar to the height of others in the area.
A roughly two-foot node will sit on top of the pole, taking its height to 33 feet. A radio box also will be attached to the center of the pole, about 10 feet up.
“The purpose of the technology is to address issues in capacity in the mobile cell phone network,” Ackerman said. “We often locate these nodes in places where there are high concentration cell phone users to offset some of the capacity necessary for data, social media streaming. As more and more people rely on cell phones, there becomes a great need for that concentrated signal.”
While the node will have the capacity for multiple cell phone carriers to use it, Sprint will be the anchor tenant.
Council members raised questions about the node’s closeness to Carnegie Elementary. The public hearing held on the conditional use was advertised and borough leaders said they contacted school leaders to make them aware. There was no response, they said.
Company representatives ensured them the node is safe.
Safety limits for exposure are set by the Federal Communications Commission, said Bob Ritter, senior government relations council.
“This site is, itself very low power,” he said.
Generally, he said, within two to four feet of the antenna, the “signal level drops below what would be a maximum exposure limit.”
The antenna is 31 feet from the ground, so at the base of the pole, “the exposure they would get from holding a cell phone to their head is greater than what they would see from that site. So, it is extremely safe,” Ritter said.
Questions also were raised about the pole’s proximity to the curb. Company representatives said they were willing to address that.