Crown Castle plans to construct its Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network, a type of small cell solution (SCS) network, within the Right-of-Way (ROW) in the Lawyers Road area of Oakton. One of Crown Castle's subsidiaries is a licensed Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This subsidiary is considered a “public utility,” allowing it to install its facilities in the ROW as needed. As a public utility, Crown Castle has a right to install its equipment in the ROW to provide regulated services. Crown Castle seeks to work with local authorities to strike a careful balance between the community need for wireless communications and local land use planning considerations. Advantages of developing a DAS in the ROW include:
- Utilizes already developed utility corridors intended to accommodate utility installations and avoid intrusions into private property.
- Allows for maximum in-building coverage, while minimizing the size and power output of the antenna facility by utilizing low profile DAS antennas on utility poles.
- Follows Fairfax County's comprehensive plan goals to utilize existing structures to reduce proliferation of poles in the ROW.
- Allows for collocation by multiple carriers, thereby reducing the number of DAS nodes in residential areas.
- Brings the latest, high-speed 4G wireless services to the community, with improved service for Verizon and collocation by other carriers.
The DAS network will consist of a central hub location that links, via fiber optics a system of strategically placed antennas, called "nodes," which receive and transmit low-power RF signals to wireless devices. Seven nodes are planned for simple attachment to utility poles in the ROW, expanding Crown Castle's existing network in and around Hunter Mill Road and Lawyers Road. The antennas are typically located at the top of the pole, approximately 45 feet above grade to the top of the antenna. In addition, each node will include an unobtrusive, pole-mounted equipment cabinet used to operate the antennas.
Fairfax County Planning Commission website: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning/