Cellular technology booster installed in front of Torrey Pines Elementary in La Jolla


Small Cell infrastructure to enhance the strength of wireless devices was recently installed in front of Torrey Pines Elementary School at 8350 Cliffridge Ave. by way of a small beige box affixed to a lamppost on the sidewalk.

Different from cell towers or larger forms of wireless boosting technology, the Small Cell infrastructure is designed to keep up with increased demand on wireless technologies such as smart phones, smart watches, tablets and more, used for video streaming, games, communication and more. It is not associated with any one carrier.

This infrastructure was designed and built by Arizona-based Crown Castle, and its district government relations manager Tanya Friese wrote in an e-mail: “The Small Cell equipment on the streetlight pole located in the public right-of-way near Torrey Pines Elementary School is part of a much larger network of small cells in the San Diego area.” It is not known if there are other cells in La Jolla.

Friese added: “As a public utility, Crown Castle fully complies with all Federal, State and local permitting, and operating requirements which includes all Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations addressing the safety of this technology. The Small Cell equipment installed produces Radiofrequency (RF) levels well below the FCC’s permitted maximums. RF exposure signage installed near the equipment is to provide occupational safety warning to anyone conducting work at the top of the pole, within two to four feet of the antenna.”

Similar technology was proposed for the area surrounding Torrey Pines Elementary School in 2014, when AT&T announced its intention to build a cell tower in Cliffridge Park. However, parents rallied and spoke out against it, citing concerns about RF and electromagnetic field exposure for the children who attend the school and those who use the nearby YMCA at Cliffridge Park.

However, according to Crown Castle, these systems are different.

“Traditional cell towers still play an important role in delivering the wireless services you rely on. But the upgrades and expansions that are currently underway fall under a newer category of wireless infrastructure called small cell solutions networks.

“… In a nutshell, think of small, inconspicuous antennas or nodes attached to poles that are about the height of a streetlight,” reads the Crown Castle website.

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