Is Denver’s wireless infrastructure meeting the increased demand during COVID-19?

As families shifted their lives remotely, from places of business to homes, data usage and demands have skyrocketed as more families are connecting more devices
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More than ever before, wireless technology has become vitally important to our everyday lives. Seemingly overnight, bedrooms and living rooms were transformed to offices and classrooms due to COVID-19.

The need to stay home and stay safe has driven us toward higher levels of dependence on our devices. While throngs of workers started telecommuting from home, educators began teaching students remotely, and patients started accessing telehealth services, we saw an immediate growth in demand for connectivity and access. As families shifted their lives remotely, from places of business to residential neighborhoods, data usage and demands have skyrocketed as more families are connecting more devices.

In order to meet the increased data demand, telecommunications infrastructure either has to be upgraded or built to accommodate more devices and increased traffic. One such company doing this is Crown Castle.

Crown Castle spent the past 6 years upgrading Denver’s existing wireless infrastructure, installing fiber, and building new facilities. Most recently, their teams have been deploying small cell technology; small cells are, as the name implies, smaller than traditional towers or rooftop installations and are often installed on existing right-of-way infrastructure like telephone poles or streetlights.

These upgrades are essential in providing connectivity that we all require to continue to work, learn and stay in touch with family and friends. With the onset of the pandemic, these upgrades and new deployments are no longer a luxury, but an essential necessity.

One of Governor Polis’ top priorities during the pandemic has been to ensure residents have equitable access to technology. As part of our work on the Governor’s Council for Economic Stabilization and Growth, Crown Castle has been participating in a working group comprised of leaders from the communications industry, the State Broadband Office, and other stakeholders to advise the Governor regarding the hurdles to rapid deployment of infrastructure where it’s needed most.

The goal of this working group is simple yet critical: make high speed broadband more accessible for Coloradans so they can engage in remote work, online coursework, and leisure activities. As a result of this team’s effort, the Governor signed recommendations for municipalities to efficiently process applications for new infrastructure.

As we work to build new infrastructure, tablets, smart phones, and wearable devices will need to remain connected, often demanding faster speeds to function. The best way to keep up with the extra demand is to increase network capacity by creating new technologies and deploying more communications infrastructure. By expanding our network of small cells and fiber and working closely with municipalities, Crown Castle can improve access to robust broadband – both wireless and wireline.

Finding better ways to employ communications technology and ensuring Coloradoans remain safe and productive during our current and future emergencies, needs to be a top priority for our city leaders. It would be nothing short of reckless to not take full advantage of the technology that is available to us today.

Scott Harry is the Manager of Government Affairs for Denver for Crown Castle.

Categories: COVID-19, Industry Trends, Tech