Small Cell Wireless Facilities are Coming to Lone Tree

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Given our increasing daily use of wireless communication and a recent law passed by the Colorado Legislature, the City of Lone Tree and neighboring municipalities will be allowing the installation of small cell wireless facilities in the area.

What are small cell wireless facilities?

Small cell facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas, supplementing larger cellular networks. Unlike many of the large cellular towers you may have seen, these smaller wireless facilities are designed to be less intrusive and blend well into the background.  

Why do wireless providers want to expand their networks?

The demand for mobile data has continued to increase exponentially. Smartphone data traffic in North America has more than doubled between 2016 and 2018 and is expected to double again between 2018 and 2020.

Who is proposing new wireless facilities in the City?

Almost all of the traditional wireless communications providers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile have expressed interest in building new facilities in Lone Tree.  In addition, there are other third-parties such as Mobilitie, Zayo and Crown Castle that work with the traditional providers in building out the network.

Does Lone Tree have to allow these facilities in our city?

Yes. In 2017, the Colorado State Legislature passed a new law requiring all cities, towns and counties in Colorado to accommodate wireless communications facilities in the public right-of-way, just like we allow gas, electric, water and sewer utilities.  Almost all of this right-of-way is along our streets in both commercial and residential neighborhoods.  Although the city has established design guidelines that can guide color and height, we cannot prohibit a wireless provider from locating new poles along our streets.

What will they look like?

The City of Lone Tree has worked with many other municipalities in the Denver area, along with the wireless providers, to establish design guidelines that will minimize the visual impact of these new facilities. Depending on the location, the new wireless facility may look like a flag pole or a street light. In some locations, these facilities may be attached to an existing street light or an existing traffic signal.

How can I find out more about these facilities?

Contact the City Manager’s Office or Public Works Department at 303-708-1818.