Frequently Asked Questions: Mobile Telecommunications Franchises

What is the Mobile Telecommunications Franchise?

Why does the City allow wireless equipment on poles?

What companies are involved?

What is the benefit to the City?

Will only users of cell phones benefit from this franchise?

How do wireless users benefit from the Mobile Telecommunications Franchises?

What does the installation actually look like?

How many installations are allowed per pole?

What measures are being taken to ensure that these installations are safe?

What is the Mobile Telecommunications Franchise?
The Mobile Telecommunications Franchise allows authorized companies to install and use telecommunications equipment and facilities, including telecommunications boxes and antennae, on street light poles, traffic light poles and utility poles, as well as install and use related facilities to provide mobile telecommunications services in all five boroughs. It also allows these companies to use this equipment to enhance existing services or to provide new wireless services including cellular and broadband internet access. The franchise allows the companies to sell access to this system and equipment to other companies interested in these or other wireless services.

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Why does the City allow wireless equipment on poles?
The franchise was developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in conjunction with other City agencies to promote the use of city property as a viable alternative to private property when a wireless provider seeks locations to site their telecommunications equipment. Granting access to street poles creates an opportunity for wireless companies to provide their services where private property is not available or practical while enabling the City to generate municipal revenue.

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What companies are involved?
The seven franchisees are: Crown Castle Solutions Corp.; Crown Castle NG East, Inc.; ExteNet Systems, Inc.; ExteNet Systems II, Inc.; Lexent Metro Connect, LLC; Mobilitie, LLC; Xchange Telecom Corp.

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What is the benefit to the City?
The franchise provides companies with an opportunity to build and/or improve their wireless network while paying revenue to the City which helps pay for municipal services.

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Will only users of cell phones benefit from this franchise?
No. In addition to cellular telephone service, many different applications benefit from the opportunities the franchise offers, including wireless broadband, Wi-Fi, VoIP and others.

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How do wireless users benefit from the Mobile Telecommunications Franchises?
Wireless users benefit through improved cellular coverage throughout the build-out areas and fewer dropped calls, especially during peak times of the day or on peak days (e.g. New Year's Eve). Carriers are able to fill in areas of weak coverage, improve capacity and service in previously underserved areas of the city and offer alternatives to traditional land-line telephone service.

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What does the installation actually look like?
The installation consists of a box-like structure that contains the telecommunications equipment and an antenna on top of the pole.

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How many installations are allowed per pole?
Only one installation is allowed per pole.

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What measures are being taken to ensure that these installations are safe?
The installations operate at very low power particularly when compared to typical large rooftop installations and cell tower structures. Franchisees are required to fully comply with stringent safety requirements adopted by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the installation of wireless transmitters. For additional information regarding radio frequency safety please visit the Federal Communications Commission's website.

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