Enhance Your Signal Strength on Chicago’s North Side Where Bandwidth Demand is Growing Fast

Photo of Ravenswood United Church of Christ

Photo of Ravenswood United Church of Christ

88′ Church Bell Tower Available for Cell Siting on Chicago’s North Side!

This bell tower and steeple at Ravenswood United Church of Christ (UCC) is located near Lincoln and Montrose Avenues on Chicago’s North Side. The tower is near the Montrose Avenue stop on the CTA Brown Line.

The bell tower and steeple are situated in the center of the densely populated Ravenswood neighborhood and are only a few yards from a shopping district that includes stores and restaurants.  The bell tower and steeple will  accommodate up to two wireless antenna arrays, to fill gaps in coverage or capacity.

Brick-colored panels can be added to the 88′ bell tower and steeple. An additional carrier can also be added to the steeple or bell tower. Microwave dishes or stick antennas may also be installed on the bell tower or steeple.

Choose Between Interior Base Station Room or Space for an Outdoor Equipment Platform or Shelter Building.

Indoor and outdoor space is available for base station facilities. Nearly 120 square feet of secluded and secure interior space inside the bell tower is available for base station equipment. An outdoor base station can be constructed along the side or at the rear of the church. Power and phone are installed.

Enhance Your Signal Strength on Chicago’s North Side Where Bandwidth Demand is Growing Fast.

Demand for wireless broadband services in the upwardly mobile North Side is growing quickly. Wireless providers need more towers and bandwidth now. The Ravenswood UCC site can accommodate antenna arrays to provide bandwidth that serves both mobile and in-building wireless customers.

● This prominent site can serve the Ravenswood neighborhood which has a population of nearly 50,000. It can also reach major Chicago streets that carry tens of thousands of drivers per day within antenna range from the bell tower and steeple. The tower will provide signal strength to nearby businesses and office buildings containing thousands of workers.

● Whether used as a primary site, or as a booster, this site will be a valuable asset and provide another source of bandwidth for your wireless network.

Tower Site Information:

Type of Site: Unoccupied Church Bell Tower/Steeple
Location: 2050 West Pensacola Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618
Ward: 47th Ward
Bell Tower Height: 78′ ±3′ AGL
Steeple Height: 10′
Elevation: 712′ ASL
Geographic Position:
Latitude: North 41° 57.635′
Longitude: West 87° 40.879′
Zoning Classification: RS-3
PIN: 14-18-306-030-0000
Utilities: Water, sewer, gas, phone, power all on site. Fiber optic cable nearby. The site has paved roadway access and street parking.

For More Information and site photographs go to http://www.msatelecom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Ravenswood_UCC.pdf to download the electronic brochure (3 Mb., PDF) or contact:
●Stuart Chapman, MSA, Inc., 3 Golf Center, #311, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 847-882-7773 (office) 847-310-9275 (fax) 847-867-6117 (cell) msaschapman@cs.com (e-mail)
● Property Contact: Pastor Jason Coulter, Ravenswood United Church of Christ, 2050 West Pensacola Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618 773-549-5472

All information provided in this announcement is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

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Arlington Heights, IL: Unoccupied 76-Foot Cell Tower Near Major Highways–REDUCED PRICE, MOTIVATED SELLER

Photo of the Arlington Heights tower

This unoccupied cell tower is located in the Arlington Ridge Office Park complex adjacent to Illinois Route 53 and close to Illinois Route 68 (Dundee Road) in Arlington Heights.

Within 1 mile of the tower are hundreds of condos and apartments in Arlington Heights and Palatine, numerous offices and businesses, and two hotels.

The tower will presently accommodate at least two wireless antenna arrays, to fill coverage gaps or capacity gaps.

An extension pipe may be connected to the top of the tower to add height for extending the coverage zone or for adding an additional carrier. There is also space for a microwave dish or whip antennas.

No Shelter Building Needed. Base Station Space is Ready!

The adjacent office building can provide up to 175 square feet of inside space for a carrier base station. The base station has immediate access from the tower. Power is on-site, and an overhead bridge takes cables directly to the tower with minimal exposure to weather.
Phone wiring is installed. Mounting racks are available.

The Arlington Ridge Cell Tower Offers Wireless Providers
More Access to Potential Customers.

With demand for wireless broadband services rapidly expanding, wireless carriers urgently need towers and bandwidth. Arlington Ridge offers a tower site that can deliver bandwidth that serves both mobile and in-building wireless customers.

  • This unique site can serve two major highways carrying tens of thousands of drivers per day within antenna range from the tower. The tower will provide signal strength to area businesses and office buildings containing hundreds of workers.
  • Whether used as a primary site, or as a booster, this site will provide vital coverage and another source of bandwidth for your wireless network.
  • The prime location of this tower and the savings resulting from existing indoor facilities and infrastructure will make it a valuable asset for wireless carriers using the tower.

Tower Site Information:

Type of Site: Unoccupied Monopole Cell Tower
Location: 3215 North Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004
Township: Wheeling Township
Zoning Classification: M-1
Tower Height: 76′ ±3′ AGL
Elevation: 746′ ASL
Geographic Position: Latitude: North 42° 08.028′, Longitude: West 88° 00.083′
PIN: 03-07-100-013-0000
Utilities: Water, sewer, gas, telephone, power all on site. The site has
paved roadway access and parking.

For more information and site photographs CLICK HERE to download the electronic brochure (3mB, PDF format) or contact:

  • Stuart Chapman, MSA, Inc., 3 Golf Center, #311, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169, 847-882-7773 (office) 847-310-9275 (fax) 847-867-6117 (cell) msaschapman@cs.com (e-mail)
  • Property Manager: Jeff Pryor, Special Assets, 555 W. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60661 312-425-9800 x 20
All information provided in this announcement is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.


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Got a Site to Cell? We Can Tell!

Since MSA was founded nearly 20 years ago, occasionally requests come in from private sector and not-for-profit organizations and groups concerning telecommunications issues. We’ve helped establish a computer center at a public housing complex, assisted several public access entities with obtaining additional funding to expand operations, and worked with condominium associations to upgrade their communications systems and wiring to enable high-speed Internet access. As the old saying goes, “It’s all good.”

Lately, wireless projects involving private sector and not-for-profit organizations have been a source of activity for MSA. It’s not surprising. Those rapidly-growing numbers of tablet and smartphone users have created a monster need for bandwidth. Wireless companies are furiously changing out cell sites and are trying to add new ones in order to get the bandwidth to users with a high quality of service.

MSA may be able to help.

Several organizations have asked MSA to help them market sites that can hold antenna arrays and base station equipment. These sites include an unoccupied monopole tower, water tanks more than 100 feet high, and even a tall church steeple.

Our web site will feature these potential cell sites and we will be promoting them on social media, such as Linked In. We’ll go straight to the carriers and their representatives as well. MSA believes that bandwidth is the fuel that will power the telecom boom of the 21st century, and that cell sites are critical in making sure that bandwidth can get to where communications demands need to be met.

We’re here to pitch in, and whether your organization is public, private, or not-for-profit, we’ll find a way to work with you in helping to publicize your potential cell sites.

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4G Or Not 4G

With apologies to Shakespeare right off the top, 4G or not 4G, that is the question. In the wireless world, if 2010 is known for nothing else, it will be known for Droids, Evos, iPads, and 4G. This has been a year of great technological advancement, even in the midst of the “Great Recession.” With technological advancement comes the torrent of marketing support that helps Droids, Evos, and iPads succeed, and wildly so.

Which brings me to 4G. A few days before Thanksgiving, Chicago Tribune reporter Wailin Wong wrote a story that essentially questions whether T-Mobile’s new wireless services which are touted as 4G, are in fact, exactly that. The article correctly points out that T-Mobile’s service is HSPA+, which is a wireless standard that is considered by the International Telecommunications Union Radiotelecommunication Sector (ITU-R) to be a 3G technology. It doesn’t end there.

Clearwire and Sprint, which rely on WiMAX to provide its regional wireless networks, markets its service as 4G. However, the WiMAX standard remains very much a 3G standard based on the ITU-R definition.

Enter player number 3. On December 5, Verizon Wireless introduced Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in Chicago and several other metro areas and marketed it, as, you guessed it, 4G. Is it 4G? No, it is not, according to the ITU-R or the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Both agencies consider LTE to be a 3G technology.

If none of the above is 4G, then what exactly is 4G? ITU-R defines 4G as having a target peak data rate of 100 Megabits/second for mobile access, and 1 Gigabit/second for local wireless access. ITU-R also recommends that 4G systems provide scalable bandwidths of up to 40 MHz. While the new Sprint, Clearwire, T-Mobile, and Verizon systems are faster than their 3G predecessors, they don’t yet clear the bar set by ITU-R for 4G systems, especially for peak data rates.

So, if what’s out there isn’t really 4G, why call it something that it isn’t?

Those of us who follow broadband issues are constantly aware of one nagging and irritating truth–the United States is ranked considerably behind other parts of the world in the area of broadband advancement. Southeast Asia and Europe are already enjoying mobile broadband speeds that far exceed those that wireless providers offer in the US. While most American wireless users probably don’t care about that, some do, especially those who need advanced wireless devices for their jobs, their education, or for other important purposes. For these users, any advancement, regardless of whether it depends on LTE or WiMAX, is a major step forward. While they would love to have what users in Singapore or Germany have, the wireless system in the US isn’t there yet. So, that major step forward is what wireless marketers are saying is 4G, even though the ITU-R and ETSI say otherwise.

Given that most American wireless users have recently graduated from 2G phones to 3G phones, if it’s called 4G, does it really matter all that much? A few years ago, during its summer rerun season, NBC’s advertising campaign for second-run programs stated “If you haven’t seen it before, it’s new to you.” So, would WiMAX and LTE be new to you?

The answer is probably so, especially if your last phone was a small flip model with a screen not much larger than a postage stamp, was not particularly good at texting, and could not receive videos well, if at all. In that case, it doesn’t matter what you called a WiMAX or LTE phone as long as it was better than the one you had. For most of us, that’s generally true, even if you’re graduating from a two-year-old Blackberry to a brand-new Droid Pro. In the end, we know what the marketers know–newer is better, faster is better, and more is better, and if it happens to meet the ITU-R or ETSI definition of 4G, great. If not, that’s OK too.

So, we come right back to the question – 4G or not 4G? And my reply is that it’s 4G if you want to believe. So, if you’re looking for that Droid, Evo, or iPhone 4 may your search be rewarded, or your wish be granted, and your phone, 3G or 4G, is all that you hope it will be.

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Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of making a lot of friends in Britain via the web. There is a forum for some television shows that started on BBC One and made their way to BBC America in which I’ve participated. As I’ve conversed on this forum, I’ve learned some words and phrases that aren’t heard here. One of those words is “Skint.” Skint means broke, but not “The tank is empty” broke, but the type of “broke” where one can afford some things, but not a lot of others.

Skint — Not Just a Public Affair

The State of Illinois is skint. It’s $15 billion in debt, but has cash flow to pay salaries, carry out programs, and pave roads, but it can’t pay its bills to various vendors, including municipalities. A number of cities in northern Illinois, and throughout much of the country for that matter, are skint. They have budget shortfalls that are forcing layoffs of all kinds of workers, including first responders. Retail stores are skint, some closing their doors, others scaling back on merchandise. Colleges and universities are skint, and their responses are to cut courses, slash staff, and raise tuition. British students rioted over this in central London yesterday, and I’m sure that some of my friends who are “In University” are deeply concerned about this. They’re skint too.

What’s truly unusual about this “Skint” phase is that once prosperous industries are turning up with serious cash problems. Industries which up until recently, were doing nicely while others around them were taking bailouts. Would you think that telecommunications firms were going skint? If you thought that telecom was invulnerable, you would be wrong. Stories in the telecom trade media that have emerged in the past week, particularly an article by Brad Reed for IDG News Service, and published in  Computerworld brought to light the concept of skint to the telecom world.

Clearwire — In Like Skint?

Clearwire also known as Clear in the markets that it serves, provides 4G WiMAX service to numerous metropolitan areas in the US, including Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, and Philadelphia, with Los Angeles starting this month, and New York starting soon thereafter. Clearwire is 54% owned by Sprint, and the remaining 46% includes participation by Google, Intel, Comcast, BrightHouse Networks and Time Warner Cable. Comcast and Time-Warner Cable market Clearwire’s services.

Clearwire has been eagerly received by wireless users wanting the latest and greatest in 4G services. Clearwire has received generally good reviews and it has forced other providers, such as AT&T and Verizon to move their 4G plans forward. There’s just one problem with Clearwire. While they can afford to pay their rents and build their networks in Los Angeles and New York, they’re skint. Clearwire laid off 15% of its workforce last week and lacerated its marketing expenses. The company will be compelled to renegotiate its contracts with resellers, and, above all, Clearwire is now in the midst of a cash crisis which is perplexing its Sprint parent.

What happened? Clearwire’s business model, which it initiated successfully, turned out to be undercapitalized. Even though Clearwire’s partners injected $3.2 billion into the company, costs for equipment and property acquisition turned out to be much more than anticipated.

Clearwire’s goal of providing service to every major market in America meant a near-tripling of its capital expenditures in 2010 from what they were in 2009. These costs have been staggering. Clearwire spent $2.6 billion in capital expenditures from the 1st quarter of 2009 to the 3rd quarter of 2010, lacks a positive cash flow, and is showing a $1.5 billion loss so far this year. Clearwire’s woes are occurring in spite of it doubling its revenues from 2009, and growing rapidly to 2.8 million subscribers. In order to scrape for cash, Clearwire may need to sell some of its radio frequency (RF) spectrum to competitors, issue more shares for investors, or take on more corporate debt. These alternatives mean smaller coverage areas, a company with less value to its equity holders, or an enterprise that goes deeper into the red. Each option takes a hammer to Clearwire’s best laid plans.

Goodbye, capitalized business model. Hello, skint.

Clearwire’s Future Not Quite Crystal Clear

It’s not yet certain if Clearwire will survive, but I haven’t seen anyone writing its obituary as yet. As for everyone else who’s skint, we’re all hoping for better days ahead. But, for now, if roaring telecom firms such as Clearwire can have problems, then times can be still be characterized by another British phrase I’ve heard that will be equally appreciated by my friends in Madison, Wisconsin – “Rough as a badger’s arse.”


 Here is a link to Clearwire’s recent filing with the SEC:  Clearwire10Q

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The Broadband Convention Supermarket

Earlier this month, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) conference was held in Washington. It was a great conference, like the ones I’ve attended in the past. The speakers were excellent, the content was superior, the hotel facilities were top notch, and the nightlife was not disappointing. The NATOA conference needed just one more thing – lots of attendees.

The NATOA conference, in years past, was able to attract 600 to 700 people, but not this year. Blame that on the recession, no doubt. Travel budgets for many local staffs and officials have been cut to bare bones, or they have been eliminated entirely. Is the cutting shortsighted? Yes. Has the recession stopped the NATOA conference or other telecom conventions in their tracks? Surprisingly, no.

Not everyone has had their travel budget cut. Some municipalities have maintained their budgets for professional development. Travel, for municipal staff in these communities, continues. A few years ago, if you were a cable administrator for a city, there were two conferences – NATOA and the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) – that you might attend, funds permitting. But, times have changed, and as I’ve been fond of saying all these years, “Cable isn’t cable any more.” No, cable isn’t cable, it’s broadband, and now there’s a Thanksgiving-sized cornucopia of conventions concerning broadband that municipal cable broadband administrators can attend.

Last week, the 4G World conference was held in Chicago. It was an outstanding event, showcasing the latest in wireless technology, applications, engineering, and business planning for the wireless world. The event was aimed at IT professionals as well as wireless industry officials. Local government IT professionals would be at home in 4G World, especially if they are interested in wireless communications. But, 4G is not the ultimate broadband panacea. 4G World has other broadband convention competition.

Last month, the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council held their annual convention in Las Vegas. This gathering is getting larger every year, and has grown from modest beginnings to a major meeting with thousands of attendees from government and industry who are interested in the latest FTTH approaches. Municipalities are eager to learn about the progress of the Lafayette, Louisiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee fiber projects. Now, with federal stimulus funds aimed at local middle-mile and last-mile broadband projects, FTTH Council is going to be a huge resource for those who received stimulus dollars. This group’s convention will have a long and healthy life ahead of it.

If 4G World and the FTTH Council weren’t enough, there’s Rural Telecon ‘10 next month in Yuma, Arizona. This conference seeks to attract small communities interested in broadband. Topics such as planning, partnering, marketing, and financing, will be on the agenda. This convention will be important for communities that are light in population, but heavily interested in broadband as an economic development tool. Also, the Broadband Properties Summit Conference planned for next April in Houston is already looking for early registrants.

Last, but certainly not least, is The Broadband Expo conference next week in Dallas. Although the target market for this conference is broadband for rural communities, it will highlight wired and wireless technology and focus on business, marketing, technical, and regulatory aspects of broadband. Their speaker mix includes vendors, federal and state government agency officials, wired and wireless broadband industry executives, and financing, marketing, and engineering specialists. They couldn’t have timed their conference better, with Dallas’ own Texas Rangers being in the World Series next week.

Top these off with regional conferences such as those held by the Minnesota Association of Cable and Telecommunications Association (MACTA), the States of California and Nevada (SCAN) NATOA, and the Southeast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA), and the choices for your travel dollar, whether free-flowing, or tightly restricted, multiply quickly.

For those with a paper-thin professional development budget, there are still numerous free and low-cost webinars going on every month. Having participated in a few of these webinars, I can honestly say that they will allow you to see and hear the latest on broadband issues wherever you are, be it behind a desk, in front of a laptop, or taking it easy somewhere while staring at a smart phone.

For those who say these are the worst of times for telecom, you could have fooled me. There’s never been so much choice and opportunity to learn about what it means to be a broadband professional. The market for these conferences is growing as broadband grows. So, choose wisely, and if you need to, choose frugally. With so many good options, it’s hard to go wrong.

– Stu

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And now, a word about our blog. . .

And now, a word about our blog. . .
by Stu Chapman, M.PA., President, Municipal Services Associates, Inc.

Hi! Welcome to MSA’s first blog. We waited until all those other millions of blogs got up and running so that they wouldn’t get in our way, or alternatively, better now than never.

For those that don’t know about us, here’s what we’re about. Started in 1992, MSA was formed to provide public sector entities, such as cities and counties, with expertise in telecommunications that they didn’t have. Over the years, we’ve specialized in cable TV, wireless voice, video, and data, wired and un-wired broadband, public, educational, and governmental (PEG) programming, telecom needs assessments, franchise fee audits, cable system plant inspections, cable system transfers, and ascertainment surveys.

Whew! That’s a lot! And, we’ve done a lot.

We’ve worked with over 200 clients in 10 states, completed numerous franchise renewals and system inspections, done research on hundreds of cell sites, started PEG channels and worked on Wi-Fi systems, and spread the word to local governments at conferences and seminars throughout the US about how their citizens can benefit from municipal involvement in telecommunications.

And we’ve had a lot of fun doing all that, and now, we can add this blog to our achievements. By now you’re asking “So, what are you going to do now?”

We’ll do another thing we’re very good at. We’ll observe and comment.

This blog will look at all things telecom. If it’s carried on copper, coax or fiber, takes radio frequency from a distant tower, or comes off a femtocell in your living room, it’s fair game. The same goes for policy and legislation. This blog will not be shy about opining about the workings of the FCC, Congress, the White House, state capitals, the courts, or various associations that lobby on telecom issues.

And we’ll occasionally have some fun by commenting on television, movies, music, and other manifestations of pop culture. With your smartphone, iPad, or Kindle able to download everything from Stephen King’s latest thriller, “Dancing With the Stars”, the director’s cut of Avatar, to Lady Gaga’s most recent concert, we wouldn’t be content unless we said something about content.

Before we stop, a word about your humble blogger. With 3 full decades of experience in working with local governments, and 23 years working in government telecommunications, you can be sure that there’s some knowledge and background to underpin what’s being said. There’s been more than a few blogs that I’ve seen where the bloggers didn’t seem to know what they were blogging about. This blog won’t be one of those, and my pact to you, the reader, will be to keep it that way.

So, welcome, and I hope you enjoy this blog and stop in occasionally. We’ve got a few good comments to share and here’s my thanks to you in advance for taking your time to read them.

– Stu

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