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Los Angeles boosts mobile network via streetlights

Performance enhancer: Philips has partnered with Ericsson to use streetlights to boost 4G coverage in dense urban parts of LA

Los Angeles is the world’s first city to deploy Philips’ SmartPole streetlighting with built-in 4G LTE wireless technology from Ericsson. The move will see 100 SmartPoles used to improve network performance in dense urban areas in the first year – 500 additional poles will be added over the following four years. 

This project expands on Philips’ existing relationship with LA. Earlier this year, LA became the first city in North America to monitor and control its LED streetlighting through Philips CityTouch, the company’s streetlight asset management system that uses mobile and cloud-based technologies.

“The analogue light pole has evolved right here in Los Angeles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “LA is a world leader in LED streetlights and has more poles than any other city in America. We are now taking advantage of previously untapped real estate to give our streets better broadband connectivity and future-ready infrastructure, while generating revenue for the city. This project shows what smart infrastructure can do for Los Angeles: create jobs, save tax payer dollars, and improve our environment.”

Amy Huntington, president of Philips Lighting Americas said: “The Philips SmartPole technology proves its role as the backbone in an outdoor Internet of Things platform capable of delivering new services and value. This is also fully aligned with many of Mayor Garcetti’s key priorities and outcomes by taking LED streetlighting and turning it into a services hub that can adapt to the changing needs of a particular neighbourhood over time.”

Cellular data traffic is expected to grow nine times by 2020, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. With current telecoms infrastructure struggling to respond to this demand, streetlighting offers network operators new possibilities to improve wireless infrastructure beyond traditional sites. As a result, operators can improve data coverage and capacity for citizens so there are no more signal dropouts.

Arun Bansal, senior vice president and head of business unit radio, Ericsson, said: “LA will be a role model for other smart cities that place sustainability and connectivity high on their agenda. As citizens, businesses and industries transform through mobility, cities have an increasingly important role to play as eco-system partners enabling the next wave of innovations that will bring us to 5G in 2020. Innovative solutions like Philips SmartPoles and Ericsson Zero Site that efficiently improve the performance of mobile networks will be necessary to address the growing demand from both smartphone users and the Internet of Things.”

At this stage, Philips is focusing on the North American market with this offering. 

Picture: Gilad Rom