The first technical step in solving the cellular bandwidth crisis is the obvious one – build more towers. While this seems obvious it is going to take changes of heart by two camps. First, the providers must rededicate themselves to building a complete infrastructure. Secondly, the NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) must realize that compromise is required. Society will be hurt if adequate cellular bandwidth isn’t available.
Despite my railing against the cellular companies, this step is more about individuals together with some improved creativity on both sides. There are ways to make cell towers blend in with trees. In some cases church steeples have hidden antennas. Citizens must look for compromise rather than just saying no to new towers. An example of the many ways towers can be disguised is shown in a very nice CBS News.
Some people fight cell towers based on a perceived health risk. There is no research to support this fear even though it has been looked into extensively. A good source of information is the American Cancer Society site here.
Recently the large companies, especially ATT, have been trying to get more spectrum space. The failed T-Mobile merger is one example. This is at best a stop gap measure. The T-Mobile acquisition would have done less than it first appears and was more about strengthening the duopoly. Some of the other attempts currently underway such as buying spectrum space allocations from companies either not using or under utilizing the space will have more near term benefits. The explosion of mobile data usage will, however, make all of this be at best a small portion of the solution.
Coming up next – Femtocells, Picocells, Microcells and Metrocells.