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Permits on towers?


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So I have been curious that with all the holdup on the LTE deployment apparently from what I've read on other forums it seems to be caused by either birds or permits on towers. Why would you need a permit to work on a tower? AT&T, Verizon, and T-mobile all got their towers upgraded quick without permit holdups, so what's the deal with Sprint?

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So I have been curious that with all the holdup on the LTE deployment apparently from what I've read on other forums it seems to be caused by either birds or permits on towers. Why would you need a permit to work on a tower? AT&T, Verizon, and T-mobile all got their towers upgraded quick without permit holdups, so what's the deal with Sprint?

Really now? Verizon has had problems with permits, and some of their permits in Vegas took 3 years to be approved. AT&T has had similar delays in Vegas. T-Mobile is having delays too. Hmm.... I think you've been suffering from mis-information.

 

 

Sent from Josh's iPhone 5S using Tapatalk 2

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This has been discussed ad nauseaum around our forums.  We aren't going to have a new thread on this, especially with how it is being started.  The OP needs to read around the site first.

 

Robert

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I'll take the bait incase others see this post.

 

Permits are almost always required in order for tower work to begin. Permits are required for everything above a certain valuation ($5,000/10,000+ etc) and tower work is typically in the thousands of dollars of range for valuations. In addition to valuation, material changes that also costs a certain amount of money and / or fundamentally changes a structure (cell towers / office cell sites / etc) also requires a permit.

 

A permit, depending on area, has certain requirements that must be met in order to be issued. If one proceeds to work without a permit issued you will get fined Nx the cost for a regular one, stop work, and apply for one and then pay for it again.

 

This is a typical building permit application for Sprint AFTER negotiations with the site owner and local entities including zoning. 

 

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Note the time of application to time of issuance. 

 

Some areas take more time such as Berkeley or Hawaii which takes well over 9 - 12 months (year(s) sometimes) but typically 3-6 months is how long it takes for an average urban area to get a permit issued. Others, such as county or rural areas can just be done in a day (walk in) or a few weeks which incidentally are where a lot of upgraded Sprint sites and LTE is available at. Can't have LTE if you can't upgrade the equipment which you cannot do if you don't have permission from the.... you guessed it.. government. 

 

In addition, the manner of just exactly what the applicant wants to do also impacts how fast a permit gets issued. Sprint is completely tearing everything out. All old electrical wiring, coax cables, old cabinets, and old antennas are going to be removed and replaced by new antennas, radio heads, cabinets, hybridflex wiring, and electrical equipment. Due to this multiple government departments are going to need to review the permits and do inspections to make sure you don't burn a tower down or topple a tower due to wind load or improperly engineered designs. 

 

As can see in the permit above you have things like Life Safety, Electrical, Fire, Planning, and Structural reviews. Fail any one of those reviews and you have to resubmit and wait for them to review it again. It is an extremely time consuming to do.

 

On the other hand what ATT, Tmobile, or Verizon does is far simpler. ATT and Verizon nowadays are mostly adding a remote radio head to existing antenna setups to enable AWS or other LTE bands. This does not require much in the way of any engineering as it does not fundamentally alter the setup of a tower. In addition to that they also do not rip out everything on the ground in the leased areas like cabinets and electrical wiring which is another headache. 

 

Tmobile Ericsson is also similar in that all they need to do is replace antennas with new Ericsson AIR's or RRUs. They also go through a semi lengthy review process but the fact that they do not touch ground equipment at all makes their permitting go through far quicker.  Nokia Solutions & Networks may also face similar time frames as Sprint in their vendor regions but the fact that they already have upgraded backhaul in place makes it appear that they're deploying faster than Sprint as Sprint may be upgrading at the same pace but 1/2 to 2/3rds of their sites are still waiting on backhaul from a LEC in order to fire up LTE. 

 

Lots of variables. 

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