PCIA head spotlights small cell and DAS solutions to meet demand for mobile data

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

Jonathan Adelstein, the head of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, today kicked off the 2015 HetNet (heterogeneous networks) Expo in Los Angeles by spotlighting the deployment of small cell and DAS (distributed antenna) systems in meeting the soaring consumer demand for wireless mobile data.

Adelstein’s opening remarks highlighted a study released by iGR that projects the industry “spend” on U.S. macro cells, small cells, and DAS will reach $212 billion over the next five years, spurred in part by the marketplace growth to be created by the Internet of Things.

“The economic and technological impact of the Internet of Things will be staggering on the wireless infrastructure industry and every industry,” said Adelstein, PCIA’s President and CEO.  “It is expected to add $1.7 trillion to the global economy and connect more than 50 billion ‘things’ by the year 2020.

“With investments taking place on both the vendor and carrier sides, HetNet opportunities are opening up.  From smart city ventures, in-building and hospitals, to public safety mandates and mid-tier market opportunities — it’s now at the point where many wireless businesses are probably searching for the right opportunities to pursue.

“As you navigate this environment, know that the HetNet Forum is working on your behalf to confront the large educational, regulatory, and policy burdens so that deployment can flow more smoothly,” he said.

His keynote kicked off the second annual HetNet Expo, a two-day conference expected to attract hundreds of industry leaders and innovators from across the wireless ecosystem, including keynote speakers from Verizon, Digital Bridge Holdings, and Boingo.  As evidence that the wireless infrastructure industry continues to grow, Adelstein referenced recent billion dollar-plus transactions involving such iconic names as Hewlett-Packard, CommScope, Crown Castle, and Digital Bridge.

Adelstein identified the top two barriers facing wireless infrastructure companies as rights-of-way concerns and affordable fronthaul/backhaul network solutions.  “PCIA continues working closely at the federal, state, and local levels of government to address all obstacles in an effort to streamline wireless deployments,” he said.

He also outlined the recent success PCIA has had addressing regulatory challenges, highlighting the elimination of DAS and small cells from heavy regulatory requirements, the exclusion of certain facilities from federal environmental and historic review processes, and measures  that convinced the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that subjecting a small cell facility to excessively burdensome regulatory processes makes little sense.

“Today our members have a clearer runway and new ability to install thousands of qualifying facilities on utility poles and other HetNet facilities without having to worry about unnecessary compliance regulations,” Adelstein added.

Among the top issues Adelstein and PCIA are working to remedy are developing new exclusions with the FCC, clearing the way to site wireless facilities to federal lands and properties, and securing new pole attachment rules that facilitate wireless attachments in places like Washington State, which just adopted common sense new rules last week.

“We can talk all day about investments, opportunities, regulatory issues and training, but, at the end of the day – and most importantly – it is all about the consumer – our ultimate customer.

“Consumers absolutely care about reliability, throughput, capacity, and coverage.  But consumers only view these technical issues through the lens of their devices – what works and what doesn’t on their screens. We need to have insight into how they will use their devices in the future. This will directly impact how infrastructure is deployed,” Adelstein concluded.