Sky High

by David Elvin, Independent Writer; Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 10, Pg. 76-79

Document Type: Feature article


The increasing demand for personal communication services (PCS), such as digital cell phones and pagers, as well as digital television (DTV), has created new challenges for creating and maintaining telecommunications towers. The growing number of PCS users has resulted in requirements for more specialized towers. Wireless firms are further pressured by FCC requirements to complete digital systems within the next five years and to provide seamless coverage. In addition, engineers are faced with community resistance to new towers, encouraging designers to plan with aesthetics in mind. Tower collapse is another concern: the transition to DTV has begun to stress some towers as stations attempt to collocate DTV antennas on existing towers. Wind and ice enhance the chance of collapse. Despite the obstacles, the demand for towers and their renovation is expected to continue as wireless systems support an increasing share of voice and data traffic, and engineering firms are responding with better-looking or well-hidden structures that are built to last.

Subject Headings: Wireless technologies | Traffic engineering | Load and resistance factor design | Wind engineering | Systems engineering | Structural engineering | Renovation

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