Small Cell DAS Networks Provide Mobile Broadband Access to Westchester Residents

In 2016 – with more than two-thirds of American adults using smartphones and nearly half of all households relying exclusively on wireless – service providers are increasingly looking at ways to densify their networks to meet burgeoning demand for high speed data connectivity. Municipalities have embraced mobile as the broadband platform for connected cities that they rely upon for public safety, economic development and their constituents’ access to the Internet. Small cells, IoT, 5G, smart cities initiatives, public WiFi and FirstNet are all converging with the promise of new applications never before possible – provided the infrastructure exists to support such services. This confluence of events points at public rights-of-way as playing a critical role in providing mobile broadband to the public.

This is one more example where city leadership, community engagement and business participation achieved an agreement that benefits our residents.

Cuddy & Feder’s telecommunications attorneys have been at the forefront of the evolution in commercial mobile broadband infrastructure since the early days of distributed antennas systems (DAS) and “small cell” networks. In 2009, with the help of Cuddy & Feder, MetroPCS and ExteNet Systems launched the largest DAS network in the U.S. at the time – a multi-node network utilizing more than 90 miles of fiber optic cable in Mt. Vernon and Yonkers and pole top antenna installations. ExteNet’s network allowed more than a quarter million residents to get access to low cost high speed mobile broadband that was otherwise hard to obtain from a macrocellular network alone. Cuddy & Feder led the carrier’s local engagement and approval process for the DAS network simultaneously with its macrocellular build plan and helped its infrastructure partner obtain the necessary right-of-way agreement and permits. In 2009, Chuck Lesnick, former Yonkers City Council President remarked: “This is one more example where city leadership, community engagement and business participation achieved an agreement that benefits our residents.”

The Firm later led ExteNet’s efforts to expand its DAS network to hard-to-reach areas of adjacent Pelham and defended litigation challenging those approvals. Attorneys from our Telecommunications practice participated in numerous hearings and meetings, working closely with ExteNet Systems and its carrier partners, MetroPCS and T-Mobile, to educate the public about the demand for mobile broadband, its benefits and collaborated with municipal officials and ensure quality service would be provided by the DAS network which is now a major backbone of wireless carrier service in lower Westchester. As networks evolve through software defined networks and in ways not fully known with 5G, they will continue to intersect at times in the public right-of-way where public and private interests can be effectively met and managed to stimulate mobile broadband.