“These are small and attach to something that looks like a telephone pole and provide cell service and data service to folks in areas where there is a large concentration of people,” he said.
The installation of these small-cell fiber optic towers takes the strain off of the larger towers on the interstate and will increase data from 4LTE to 5G while improving overall connectivity.
Paul Jones, a clinical professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science, said the fiber optic lines will hopefully facilitate economic development since a lot of businesses require fast internet access. UNC already has relatively good internet speed, but this does not apply to Franklin Street, Jones said.
The rising population density makes an economic case for the installment of these lines.
“The business here is not just economic development, but it will benefit everybody in that area: people that want to live in an apartment there and people that want to run their business there,” Jones said.
According to the Town's press release, work began on Jan. 14 and will conclude Jan. 29. All work besides the sites in front of Carolina Square and Walker's Funeral Home near 140 West Franklin will take place at night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Work will be done during the day for the two previously mentioned locations, so as not to disturb residents.
“For the most part, they will make every effort to minimize the impact on traffic," Clark said. "It doesn’t mean there won’t be any though."
Most of the work will be done on the edge of the sidewalk, so traffic should not be majorly disrupted, Clark said. A lane or parking spot could be blocked during construction depending on the size of the installation site. The installation process itself takes place after the application of horizontal drilling equipment. A small hole is dug, the sidewalk is drilled and the cable itself is pulled through a conduit.
“We are talking about a long-term plan that will be able to make a difference in gigabyte connection for our businesses,” Jones said.