Los Angeles street lights will double as cell towers soon

Los Angeles will be the first city to launch Philips' SmartPole Street lighting, the company has announced. These LED light poles feature "small cell technology" developed by Ericsson — that is, they function as small 4G LTE cell towers. The city's mayor says this effort will involve "taking advantage of previously untapped real estate" in Los Angeles, which has more light poles than an other American city. The benefits will be two-fold, with LED lights using less electricity and the cellular technology improving network coverage.

Los Angeles has previously utilized some of Philips' technology in the city; it has used CityTouch, for example, to monitor and control its street lights, something that simplified management, reduced energy usage, and improved lighting throughout the city, among other things.

This time around, the light poles will help meet the growing demand for cellular data. Philips' says an Ericsson Mobility Report indicates data traffic will grow nine time in the next four years. The smart poles will allow for more data capacity on carriers' networks; each pole will connect with the core network through a fiber link.

It isn't clear at this point when the smart poles will roll out, nor where in the city they will be located. Says LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, "This project shows what smart infrastructure can do for Los Angeles: create jobs, save tax payer dollars, and improve our environment."

SOURCE: Philips