A rendering of Verizon’s light pole small cell implementation designs. Courtesy of the city of Kirkland

A rendering of Verizon’s light pole small cell implementation designs. Courtesy of the city of Kirkland

Public Wi-Fi and Small Cell technology make progress in Bellevue

Bellevue makes progress on providing public Wi-Fi and Small Cell antennas on city poles.

Bellevue’s goal of a connected city is closer to becoming a reality as the city progresses on providing public Wi-Fi and small cell antennas on city poles.

At the city council study session on June 24, staff gave an update on the work done to progress the connectivity element of the Bellevue Smart Plan adopted in 2017.

Chelo Picardal, Bellevue’s chief technology officer, explained some of the steps taken to improve Wi-Fi connectivity over the past year throughout the city. Picardal detailed the process to bring Wi-Fi to the Highland Village development on Northeast 8th Street.

Preserved as affordable housing, King County reached out to the city to provide Wi-Fi as they began remodeling the property. Picardal said the city was able to leverage the transportation department’s fiber network infrastructure as the backbone for the project to serve Wi-Fi to the property, similar to work for another apartment complex last year.

“We are thankful for the expanded connectivity capital program council approved to allow us to act on opportunities like this,” Picardal said. “We added Wi-Fi to each of the buildings, and will be adding Wi-Fi to a couple more buildings still under construction.”

Through the connectivity program Bellevue has also addressed digital equity gaps by providing access to Internet where possible for low-income students in the school district.

“Especially since the Bellevue School District provides laptops for their students during the school year,” she said.

The city is expanding Wi-Fi connectivity to parks. Connections are available in the community centers, downtown, crossroads, and parks such as Bellevue Botanical Garden, Kelsey Creek Farm, Highland Park and Lewis Creek Park. The city also recently added Wi-Fi to the Surrey Downs Park and the South Bellevue Community Center.

Small cell technology is also getting closer to becoming a reality in the city as service providers have signed master license agreements with the city. AT&T, Verizon and Crown Castle (T-mobile, Sprint) have signed agreements with the city to begin putting small cell antennas on streetlights.

The antennas are fitted onto utility or streetlight poles and strengthen the cell phone service in the area. None have been installed in the city yet, but service providers are working with the streetlight pole manufacturer to create a new design for the small cell poles.

Picardal expects the city will receive permit applications from the service providers soon. The technology, she said, will strengthen 4G coverage areas and will be in place for the adoption of 5G standards in the future.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
Open seat on East Bellevue Community Council

Applications are due by Friday, July 24

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Free masks at the Bellevue Salvation Army. Courtesy photo
Free mask pickup for Bellevue residents

New dates and times for mask distribution this week

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Most Read