Erin council receives request from Xplornet to build new tower

·3 min read

An internet company wants to build a telecommunications tower in Erin.

Xplornet Communications has submitted a proposal for new infrastructure at 5159 Third Line.

“As time has gone on and we have more customers, the speed of service has been declining, so over the past year or so, we have put sites within existing footprints,” said Cyrus Ghassabeh, director of Forbes Bros. Group of Companies.

Xplornet wants to build the tower to enhance and improve service in the Erin area for residents and travellers along the roadway. It features a small equipment cabinet at the base. Notifications were placed in local newspapers and mailed out to adjoining property owners.

This comes in response to a demand for high-quality wireless services. It will be about southeast of Highway 124 , east of Trafalgar Road. The company states that their proposal supports enhanced wireless voice and data coverage and capacity.

It will relieve some of the capacity constraints on the neighbouring site while adding additional capacity.

“What Xplornet tries to do is have the customer within an eight-to-10-kilometre radius, and the closer you are, the better the service is,” said Ghassabeh. “In this case, to give you an idea of how close we’re putting these sites together now, the following closest site is only two kilometres away to the east. We have another three and a half kilometres (away), almost due south to the northeast on Trafalgar Road and Highway 50. That’s about five kilometres. The furthest one is only eight kilometres due north.”

They had calls about when it will be up, what kind of services they’ll provide and if it’ll reach their home. Ghassabeh said new towers are typically online within four months.

The tower's height allows the antenna equipment to propagate wireless signals over top of obstacles, such as trees and buildings, and maintain line-of-sight connections to other Xplornet facilities in the network. The proposed installation provides an opportunity for other technologies to be added and a potential co-location with other licensed carriers. This will limit the number of new tower structures required in the area.

Xplornet is also going back to all the existing sites and upgrading equipment that is on them to match the latest technologies and service levels they hope to achieve.

Councillor John Brennan wanted to know what the appropriate range for the cellular and wireless service would be.

Ghassabeh said they commonly hear that concern, and that this past year was a challenge, as the network has been stretched to its breaking points with many people working from home and children taking virtual classes at the same time.

The range for one of the towers, theoretically, is upwards of 20 kilometres. He explained they'd expect that service to be impacted by temperature changes for those just on the edge of it.

Ghassabeh was asked if Xplornet was exploring fibre optics as a way to expand coverage. Fibre optic internet is a connection that transfers data fully or partially through fibre optic cables, according to AT&T Internet Services. Fibre refers to the thin glass wires inside the larger protective cable. Optic refers to the way the type of data is transferred, which is through light signals.

This would mean data is delivered in light signals through small, flexible glass wires.

“Running fibre to individual households, particularly in rural communities, is a very cost-prohibitive project,” said Ghassabeh. “It’s not the business Xplornet is in. We’re a wireless connectivity business. However, Xplornet works hard to connect as many of these base towers to the fibre optic feed. As soon as that happens, it increases the capacity of the site and ultimately the speed and reliability.”

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner