InBuilding - Volume 2, Issue 1 - 48
design the equipment so that it blends in with the city's
Because of the industry's reputation for forcefulness,
it can take time for ExteNet to build the trust necessary
for a collaborative environment. "Generally speaking,
the industry as a whole gets what it deserves from a lot of
these jurisdictions," Asta says. "If the industry actually approached DAS or small cell deployments in an
engagement-type role and used best practices, I actually
think cities would be opening their doors."
The towns that work with ExteNet mostly come away
impressed with the company's investment model and
focus on shared interests. "It may take a little longer, but
we're rarely forced to spend money on attorneys and
lawsuits," Asta says. "Because of that approach, we have
cities coming back to ExteNet asking about our smart
"It's really a time-tested 'best practices' approach.
A lot of people might scoﬀ but we're highly successful
because we execute better than anyone else," he adds.
48 inbuilding-magazine.com Volume 2, Issue 1
By connecting government entities to high-speed networks, municipalities have a stake in ExteNet's success.
ExteNet's collaborative process stands on two primary
tenets: transparency and starting early. Reaching out to
the local jurisdiction early in the process of implementing a new DAS gives ExteNet time to fully address their
concerns, understand the local conditions - such as how
upcoming elections could change the makeup of a city
council - and set up a pipeline for communication.
City managers often complain that telecom companies
are hot and cold. A company might submit a plan for
new antennas then go quiet for months until they suddenly want approvals for a rush job. It's not considerate
of the municipalities' time, political initiatives or their
existing approval procedures.
ExteNet strives to keep them in the loop by setting expectations from the outset and following up periodically.
"We need to maintain that relationship with the jurisdiction," Asta says. Having open communication and clear
expectations avoids issues down the road. "When people
get in a jam, that's when they try to circumvent the city's
authority, which I think is detrimental to the process."
Starting those discussions early also gives ExteNet more time to determine ways a modern cellular
infrastructure can beneﬁt the community directly. A
town might have dead zones in wireless police and ﬁre
communications that could be covered by repositioning a
DAS, or security cameras could be added to antennas to
give oﬃcers real-time video of incidents in public spaces.
Other times, ExteNet might want to build a ﬁber-optic
network that coincidentally passes near city hall or a
library, creating an opportunity to connect those facilities
to faster broadband speeds.
"We often try to do that because now the city has a
stake in the success of the project," Asta says. "Community beneﬁts are absolutely critical to us to make sure
we're showing the city we're not just investing, but we
want to partner with you. Every network we build we
expand so we have to have a long term relationship."