Many expect the small cell market to explode in the coming years as operators work to improve their wireless networks with 5G technology and millimeter-wave spectrum. But the proliferation of small cells also raises the specter of unsightly and vaguely ominous mechanical gizmos looming over neighborhoods around the country.
“The concept of ‘not in my backyard’ has existed for years,” Fabbri acknowledged.
“Yes, people do not want to see these things,” agreed Peter Raabe, strategy director with wireless networking equipment supplier RFS.That’s why cities from Baltimore to Arvada, Colo., are taking steps to require companies like AT&T, Verizon and CommScope to make some attempt to obscure, disguise or camouflage the small cells they’re installing. “Small Cell Facilities shall use camouflage design techniques including, but not limited to the use of materials, colors, textures, screening, landscaping, or other design options that will blend the Small Cell Facilities to the surrounding natural setting,” according to new regulations in Colorado.