As most residents know, depending on where someone’s standing, walking or driving in the Santa Clarita Valley, cellphone service can vary greatly.
Despite coverage maps from the major carriers indicating there shouldn’t be any gaps in coverage in the SCV, most find that’s not always the case. Weak signal locations can be seen on crowded sourced coverage maps like those seen on Sensorly.com and Opensignal.com.
While the terrain of the Santa Clarita Valley creates challenges, Santa Clarita is looking at two new facilities up for approval during the next Planning Commission meeting April 3 — one from Verizon Wireless and the other from AT&T, according to Stephen Chow, a senior planner with the city.
Both towers will be built in the Canyon Country area, once approved by the Planning Commission,according Carrie Lujan with the communications division of the city of Santa Clarita.
Companies must comply with Santa Clarita’s municipal code if they wish to install additional or new facilities. Showing a gap in coverage and ensuring the facilities meets aesthetics standards are just two of the factors the Santa Clarita Planning Commission looks at when considering new towers, Chow explained.
Both websites pull data from phones with their respective apps and measures signal strength of each device paired to each carrier. The sites then compile this data and show it on a map to give a relative idea on true signal strength in each area.
In Santa Clarita, 65-70 wireless communications facilities have been built by cellular companies operating in the valley, according to Chow. The number is only an estimate due to a number of factors including towers being turned off or decommissioned.
All new wireless facilities must be approved by the Santa Clarita Planning Commission before being built in the city; however, the city isn’t responsible for monitoring service once such a project has been approved, which is why the number of facilities is approximate.
In 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled new street lights that are equipped with LED lights and 4G LTE wireless technology, according to a press release from the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Chow said there’s no such plans for Santa Clarita.
Cellular technology is also constantly advancing, such as new 5G cell towers. All four of the major wireless providers are planning to roll out 5G technology sometime in the next year, according to news releases from each carrier.
Santa Clarita currently has no applications to install 5G towers, however Chow says when they do come to the city, the rollout could be similar to the change from 3G to 4G and LTE. “When tech changed from 3G to 4G, it would come as a plan of equipment change,” Chow explained.
To see cell the cell coverage maps for Santa Clarita, visit www.sensorly.com or opensignal.com.