What is a small cell facility?

A small cell wireless facility typically consists of a small antenna placed on utility poles or street lights along with small pole-mounted radios and other accessory equipment. Small cells are typically installed on utility poles or street lights. The antennas and equipment can be mounted on top or on the side of the pole. In some cases equipment boxes are installed on the ground or underground.

Small cell facilities will help wireless service providers in meeting the continuously increasing demand for wireless telephone and data services. The increased use of smart phones, tablets, health monitors and other wireless devices in every-day life relies on a robust wireless network. A small cell network is designed to add capacity and improve coverage in San Bruno neighborhoods. These small wireless facilities are placed with the intent to fill in areas that do not have sufficient capacity. Increased capacity will help improve voice quality, reliability and data speeds for San Bruno residents, businesses, first responders and visitors using the wireless networks.

A typical small cell within the right-of-way is 50 feet or less in height, consists of one or more antennas and one or more equipment boxes. The antennas will be mounted either at the top of the pole or on the side. The equipment boxes will be attached to the pole, installed on the ground, or in the case of new streetlight installations, potentially in the base of the pole itself. While every system varies, the equipment boxes typically include a disconnect switch, and computers to control the antennas. Some wireless facilities may also feature an equipment box, on the same pole or in a box near the pole, that contains batteries used to provide temporary emergency power to the facility in case of a power outage.

Show All Answers

1. What is a small cell facility?
2. What is Public Right of Way?
3. What is the range of these systems?
4. Can the City prohibit the installation of wireless telecommunication facilities?
5. What is the status of the small cell application submitted by Verizon for 123 Elm?
6. What is the status of the other small cell applications seeking approval of proposed installations in residential zones?
7. What is the City doing to advocate for residents who disagree with Federal and State laws allowing small cell installations in residential areas?
8. What is 5G? How does it relate to current installations of wireless telecommunications facilities? What are requirements for 5G?
9. Which agency establishes limits for radio frequency (RF) emissions?
10. How can I get more information about my health concerns?
11. Can Local and State governmental bodies establish limits for RF exposure?
12. Is a permit required from the City for these installations?
13. Are these facilities subject to the California Environmental Quality Act or additional environmental review?
14. Who legally owns the poles or wires? Who can legally attach equipment?
15. Do other cities have these small cell systems?
16. Are cities allowed to impose a moratorium?
17. How is it that other cities have successfully prohibited cell towers near residences? For example: Palo Alto, Burlingame, Hillsborough near here but there are others.
18. Are carriers allowed to put small cells on schools? Near schools? Near Parks?
19. My house is a cell phone "dead spot." Will the installation of small cell facilities help?
20. Can the city limit only one vendor per pole? How likely will be it that there are multiple small cell antenna installations on the same pole?
21. I have more Radio Frequency (RF) emission questions – where else can I obtain information?