SPRINGDALE — Springdale’s spotty cellphone coverage has been the talk of the town during recent council meetings. Last week, CityScape Consultants presented an overview to the public. Then on Wednesday, they gave the same presentation at a town council work meeting.

An example of a faux building concealed base station for wireless communication, unspecified location and date | Photo courtesy of CityScape Consultants, St. George News

CityScape Consultants Vice President and Project Planning Director Susan Rabold discussed wireless network options with the council. She also covered the history of wireless communication technology and the infrastructure needed to improve service.

Rabold presented an analysis map of wireless communication facilities in Springdale and one mile outside the town that CityScape Consultants have created. The map also showed areas where cell coverage is spotty. She discussed options for building a better cell network, including types of infrastructure and where it could be located.

“Because of the needed capacity, the industry needs even more service facilities to fill in gaps to 5G and beyond 6G on the horizon, adding features to bring more capacity to the network,” Rabold said. “And so this development of sites isn’t going to go away and it continues to evolve and the industry continues to build off the existing sites they have in place.”

Due to technological improvements, wireless networks need to increase capacity while leveraging existing sites. Rabold said infrastructure includes three types of towers: monopole lattice and guide, with varying heights and tenants on the towers.

Springdale currently has three personal wireless service facility sites, all single-tenant sites. Robald said they cannot add additional providers on those sites, called co-location or multi-tenant tower. The gateway town to Zion National Park also has geographic challenges.

Robald said a typical wireless deployment plan would consist of taller towers with more giant antennae propagating a much greater distance.

An example of a 80-foot unipole with flag, unspecified location and date | Photo courtesy of CityScape Consultants, St. George News

“It’s really the backbone of the wireless industry. You can see multiple platforms on those towers. Those represent different tenants on the tower and that’s also called co-location,” Rabold said. “So when a tower is built, and you have multiple tenants like AT&T, Verizon and T Mobile dish all on one site that’s considered a multi-tenant tower, and they’re co-locating the space on that facility.”

But a town doesn’t have to go with tall towers. There are options such as small wireless facilities, highlighting the size and concealment of the antennas. Rabold said the town could consider passing ordinances to help guide wireless communication companies in the way they would prefer to serve the population. She said a town would also have to consider a wireless company’s business plan.

“You can continue to use public property when a facility is built on town land. The town becomes the landlord, and you’d have greater control over the long-term maintenance of that site. You have greater control over what the site looks like,” Rabold said. “And you have greater control over the placement on the property of where that facility goes. You also have the benefit of being the landlord, so you can generate revenue and receive revenue in exchange for using the public land for such a facility.”

Small wireless facilities include concealed antennas on utility poles, replaced poles with equipment at the bottom, and poles surrounded by a shroud. The inventory of wireless facilities in Springdale consists of five towers and three existing towers outside of town, with one approved but still needs to be built.

The next step is for the consultants to create a community poll to gather preferences on cell tower locations and design.

“I think at this stage the scenarios, whichever scenario the town ultimately chooses, they will want the feedback from the people in the town from the surveys,” Springdale Town Planner Niall Connolly commented.

Rabold added that CityScape Consultants work for local governments to provide factual and independent expert advice on wireless infrastructure siting. They do not recommend what wireless companies to use. She said their company can assist with a future survey as well.

According to the company website, “We provide comprehensive wireless consulting services, and our staff consists of planners, attorneys, engineers, and wireless professionals. We are dedicated to serving our clients’ long-range goals of protecting safety and aesthetics within communities while navigating state and federal statutes and regulations that limit the range of local land use development standards applicable to wireless infrastructure.”

Photo Gallery

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.