By Alyssa Schnugg
Utility provider Uniti Fiber has made its entry into Oxford after gaining approval for four small cell poles in and around Oxford from the Oxford Planning Commission.
Uniti Fiber provides connectivity to businesses, governmental agencies and wireless carriers.
“In the Oxford area, we’re deploying a small cell network which will provide additional cellular capacity, especially on crowded game days,” said William Hanes, vice president for Communications and Public Affairs. “Simply put, this will alleviate the problem of seeing service bars on your phone but not being able to make a call or post a picture.”
Uniti Fiber is deploying a total of 24 small cells in Oxford, nine of which will be around downtown and the stadium. The primary nine are expected to be complete by the start of football season this fall with the remaining complete in 2020.
A small cell installation consists of small radio equipment and antennas that can be placed on structures such as streetlights, the sides of buildings or poles. They are about the size of most computer screens and transmit data to and from a wireless device. They are much smaller and less intrusive than large cell towers.
Hanes said the city of Oxford and its officials have been helpful since Uniti Fiber presented its plans.
“We’ve worked together to ensure that Oxford is well prepared for the next generation of cellular upgrades,” he said. “We’re excited about this development and look forward to expanding our footprint.”
The four locations approved Monday by the Planning Commission are at University Avenue and South 5th Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Washington Avenue; North Lamar Boulevard and Price Street; and Anderson Road near Edinburgh Place.
Uniti Fiber has been actively working with the city of Oxford to determine the final locations and design materials, in order to identify the best locations for future small cell poles, while minimizing the visual impact of each proposed pole.