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Manteca city leaders ponder agreement for small cell towers
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Manteca may clear the way for small cell towers — described by some providers as being about the size of a picnic cooler — mounted on street light and traffic signal poles that have been deployed in larger markets to enhance 4G bandwidth as well as lay the groundwork for 5G service.

The Manteca City Council is meeting at 3:30 p.m. today at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., to consider approving a master pole agreement for wireless providers to install cell sites on city property. Also on the agenda is a citywide department presentation providing the council with general information and updates on various projects

The master agreement approach for wireless providers establishes a streamlined encroachment permit process. It also establishes policies for controlling location, aesthetics, timing, and identification.

The agreement calls for a $100 payment per installation and an annual fee of at least $270 a site.

 Verizon has been deploying small cells for several years in major markets to improve their 4G LTE network as well as lay part of the groundwork needed to roll out its 5G network.

The 5G technology is 30 to 50 times faster than 4G. 

Small cells are wireless transmitters and receivers that provide network coverage to smaller areas than the large towers. It is designed to strengthen the signal in a smaller area that in turn will allow for delivery of 5G service.

While other communities have resisted small cell towers as some that have been proposed or deployed created aesthetics concerns, design advances have been made blend in fairly seamlessly in neighborhoods and elsewhere with the use of non-descript covers.

Unlike large cell towers that need a major investment to make oblivious such as the “pine tree” that hides a tower on Button Avenue and the clock tower that hides another near the McDonald’s at Commerce and Yosemite avenues in Manteca, the size of the small towers aren’t nearly as obtrusive making them easier to be hidden using covers.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email