Huntington Beach

“Smart poles” for wireless on CC agenda

PHILIPS LIGHTING NORTH AMERICA is proposing to replace up to 200 light standards in downtown and beach areas of Huntington Beach with “smart poles.” (Philips rendering).

Is it smart to replace up to 200 street lights in the downtown area with newer structures, especially when the proposed new “smart poles” could bring better wireless device reception to residents and visitors, along with a bonus of up to $400,000 to city coffers?

That’s what the Huntington Beach City Council will decide on Monday when it takes up two measures relating to making Surf City a “smart city,” in the words of Phillips Lighting North America.

Philips is proposing to pay the city a “deployment fee” of $50,000 in five installments for the exclusive rights to replace city light poles at 200 locations through downtown and along Pacific Coast Highway. A percentage of the rental revenue will go into the general fund, and if all 200 smart poles are installed, the city could get $400,000 a year.

According to a report from Kellee Fritzal, deputy director of business development for the city, “residents, businesses and visitors have expressed dissatisfaction with the limited amount of wireless coverage in certain areas of the city, and at particular large scale events in the downtown area.” Her report also cited the complaint that existing small cell facilities were not “aesthetically pleasing.”

The council will be asked to approve a license agreement with Philips, as well as authority for the city manager and city attorney to execute the deal.

The council meets in its chambers in the civic center at 2000 Main St. (at Yorktown Avenue). A study session is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. with the regular meeting at 6 p.m.

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