The thousands of fans descending on Music City this week will be able to make their friends jealous with selfies and videos of Carrie Underwood a little bit faster thanks to new hardware in downtown Nashville.
AT&T Tennessee has installed seven small-cell devices in and around Lower Broadway that will provide faster and more reliable mobile internet — just in time for the four-day CMA Music Festival. The communications provider plans to install 40 small cells in downtown Nashville by the end of the year, which will be part of the groundwork of its 5G network, according to a news release.
Downtown Nashville has struggled with internet and mobile connection problems in recent years as the number of workers and residents in the city center has boomed. Small cells can increase a network’s capacity and decrease disruptions in service, according to AT&T’s website.
The cells, which come in a variety shapes and sizes, are light weight, low-power devices that can cover a radius of up to 1,500 feet. They are typically deployed in heavily populated areas prone to connectivity issues or areas that can’t be reached by traditional cell towers, according to the website.
Tennessee House Bill 2279, which Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law in April, paved the way for AT&T to install the devices on public structures such as utility poles. The bill prohibits a governmental authority from putting additional limits, permitting requirements, zoning requirements or approval policies relating to deployment of small wireless facilities outside of what is already in the legislation.
“We want our customers to have the best possible experience on our network and investments in small-cell technologies make that possible,” Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee, said in the release. “Thanks in large part to recently passed state legislation, we are in a position to more quickly upgrade our mobile network by speeding the deployment of small cells across Tennessee.”