Temporary monopoles ensure uninterrupted wireless coverage

Elevated water storage towers have become a popular option for wireless operators looking to locate antennas on existing structures. But now and then, water towers need to be painted, and when that happens, the wireless assets attached to them can be out of commission for months.

Telecom Tower Rentals LLC (TTR) solves this challenge by providing temporary monopoles to provide coverage while such work is being completed.

A major tower owner reached out to TTR for help when a historical water tank in a Massachusetts township that housed carrier equipment needed to be decommissioned because it was having structural issues. To ensure wireless communications were uninterrupted, the company provided a 160-foot ballast-mounted tower as an interim solution.

“As is typical with these types of situations, there were many stakeholders that needed time to add their input as to what the final solution was to be and there were many hearings at the township level over two years,” said Jonathan Ettere, managing member of Telecom Tower Rentals. “In addition, this was a coastal site so it was subject to more than the usual stress with high winds and potential for significant ice loading. Our TTR-160A ballasted monopole provided just what was needed with a 24’x24’ footprint, no ground penetration and zero guy wires on a very small and difficult-to-access site. Needless to say, the customer was more than happy.”

Initially targeting the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut markets 10 years ago, TTR has now expanded its concept nationwide. TTR provides towers from 70 to 170 feet to customers that include wireless telecom carriers, government agencies, private sector clients, utility companies and general contractors. Its monopoles can support up to five carriers at a time with multiple antennas per sector.

The company uses a variety of ballast designs to fit multiple situations. The monopoles are designed to be easy to assemble in the field and economical because it sources the ballast locally rather than shipping concrete over distances. The towers are design rated for Rev H and are rigid enough to withstand most extreme weather conditions. They can be leased as a temporary solution or permanent structure for up to 20 years.

TTR’s’ ballast-mounted monopole solution kept carriers on air in the coastal town of Neptune Beach, Florida, when the community’s existing water tank, that housed three carriers, was rehabilitated and painted. The monopole is still standing on the site as the project has extended more than 2.5 years. Ettere said although the company markets its monopoles as temporary solutions, they are no different than a traditional monopole and are engineered to withstand site-specific conditions, meaning they are capable of providing ongoing cellular service as long as it is needed.

Other uses for temporary towers include projects where guy wires are not an option or the ground cannot be disturbed, such as mining operations, on mountain tops on tribal lands or where there isn’t enough space for multiple cells on wheels (COWs).

The company’s temporary towers come in handy when other structures are out of commission. Just this year, TTR deployed a 100-foot ballast-mounted monopole for a two-carrier multiyear deployment in Washington, D.C. The tower will allow active carrier equipment to be offloaded from a building slated for demolition. With zero ground penetration and no guy wires to impede construction activity near the base, the temporary monopole was ideal for this type of project.

TTR’s monopoles are also invaluable in helping communities recover from natural disasters. In August 2020, Hurricane Laura hit Lake Charles, Louisiana, as a category 4 storm that destroyed a 300-foot lattice tower housing multiple carriers’ equipment. Within days, the company was able to provide a 150-foot ballast-mounted monopole that got AT&T back online.

“Short notice is our specialty as we have towers staged in inventory for emergency deployment,” said Ettere. “While crank-up COWs would have to be cranked down if other hurricanes arrived, we were able to set our tower and forget it. This allowed our asset to withstand subsequent hurricanes including Sally, Delta and Zeta with zero carrier downtime.”