Because metro cells involve using radio waves in typically densely trafficked public spaces, there’s the need to consider the regulatory framework when deploying metro cells and small cells projects in general.
Regulatory considerations include many different dimensions, covering a long list of things including:
- Spectrum (News - Alert)
- General public concerns related to health and environment
Concerns that must also be addressed include stakeholders on many levels, including governments at the national, state and municipal level.
“Having acknowledged the need for deployment of small cells to address future traffic increases, wireless operators throughout the world are now facing the risk of delays and higher costs associated with approvals,” noted a recent white paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), maker of the lightRadio small cells solution and a leader in wireless networking.
Currently metro cells regulations are a complex challenge that slows down deployment and adds unnecessary cost. These are expenses that are usually passed onto consumers.
As an intently interested participant in the market, especially in seeing its growth no impeded by non-technical issues, Alcatel-Lucent has outlined some proposals designed in assisting the industry, regulators and the general public in finding a less cumbersome way to safely, efficiently and effectively deploy small cells where they are increasingly desperately needed.
Among the changes to be advocated is the need to define compliance by product class, and to attain widespread agreement on product class definitions based on commonly accepted standards.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) is recommending that the industry should propose proportionate requirements for classes of products (SAR compliance, RF exposure, applicable installation conditions, etc.) in a number of configurations. They also are suggesting that there should be no required compliance boundary.
In addition, ALU believes minimum acceptable compliance parameters for the general public and workers should be defined, and these should align with international health-based standards such as those from WHO, ICNIRP and IEEE (News - Alert).
Furthermore, installation rules for compliance should be adapted for local regulations, and the industry should promote the positive economic, environmental, and aesthetic benefits of small cells. This includes influencing the policymaker’s perception on the need for deploying small cells, and encouraging the engagement of different governmental stakeholders in a joint effort to support the change of paradigm in regulations.
One last recommendation is that operators should build and propose innovative deployment scenarios that may benefit from flexible regulatory approaches, and engage industry associations such as the GSMA (News - Alert) in developing consensus on flexible deployment rules.
There is no denying the value of metro cells in terms of their ability to provide the bandwidth and coverage users are demanding as they look to better experiences on their mobile devices and from all of their apps. Metro cells are the answer, and it would seem to be common sense to find common ground between the industry and regulators so that the deployment process is safe, fast and in the best interest of all of the stakeholders.
This is teh fourth part in our series on small cells. Previous installments included:
Factors to Consider in Small Cell Deployments of Metro Cells
Small Cells and Other Technologies Ease Mobile Bandwidth Demands
Interest is Strong for Small Cells in the Enterprise
Edited by Peter Bernstein