Development proposals from Jyväskylä for the challenges in mobile coverage
The series of events, which began in the Kangas district in the city of Jyväskylä, led to a comprehensive analysis of the challenges in mobile network coverage with the help of a broad-based expert group. On the basis of these discussions, a working report was issued in the autumn of 2019 with concrete proposals for improvements.
The city of Jyväskylä is developing a new residential area on the grounds of a former paper mill in the district of Kangas, with the aim of achieving long-life-cycle solutions. Arrangements have been actively made in Kangas to enable various shared services related to, for instance, waste management, parking, cultural production, and common yard areas. For the data communication network, in the Kangas district, the city is building a high-quality broadband infrastructure to which operators can join.
In 2017, Tanja Oksa, Project Manage, Business Development, City of Jyväskylä, met with Harri Mutanen from Orbis Oy at a trade fair, where he discussed the theme “How Is Your Cell-Phone Signal?”. They had a lot to talk about, as the first two residential buildings were just being completed in the Kangas area and weak mobile network coverage indoors was already causing problems in the construction site.
Experts all gathered around the same table
Weak mobile network signal is not considered acceptable for a smart city or for the country leading the way in digitalization. Tanja and Harri discussed means of gaining more information and better understanding of the challenges related to low signal strength. The operators and other parties involved in the Kangas project held a seminar entitled “Kuuluuko Kankaalla” (“Mobile coverage in Kangas”) in May 2019, which attracted a credible group of experts as speakers and participants.
The seminar concluded that the challenges were complex and nationwide. The seminar participants decided to establish small groups to discuss the subject from several points of view. These groups comprised representatives from construction companies, mobile network operators and designers, an energy company, the rescue department, various units of the city, and Orbis Oy.
Solution cards based on the development targets
The three small groups approached the issues from the following perspectives: indoor coverage, long-term planning of mobile networks, and coverage during construction work. In summer 2019, the groups identified targets for development in the domains of design, implementation, and responsiveness both during construction and throughout the buildings’ life.
Eight solution cards were created on the basis of the concrete targets for development identified. Each describes an issue and proposed solution, along with related guidelines and the responsible parties.The solution cards deal with the following:
- The multi-operator network in the building (R1X)
- The operator for indoor coverage network (R1B)
- A model for active response (R3A)
- Technical fixes (R3B)
- The readiness of the building infrastructure to accommodate cable conduits (R1A)
- Proactivity in the land use planning (R2A)
- The process of land use and mobile coverage (R2B)
From words to action
The results from the small groups were ultimately compiled into a working report that was delivered to the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, along with other expert parties. The report calls for an overall outlook and responsibility that would help create uniform practices nationwide.
“It has been hard to manage the big picture of mobile coverage in the absence of sufficient understanding of the issue. You cannot expect municipalities to have all the know-how in these matters,” says Tanja. She praises Orbis, and Harri Mutanen in particular, for actively sharing knowledge and for keeping his eyes on the ball regarding this issue.
The City of Jyväskylä has decided to use the solution cards organization wide as tools to address these questions. For instance, a rough general plan for mobile network based on the card about proactivity in the land use planning will be implemented in the Kangas area in future stages of the city’s planning. Tanja hopes these measures and active participation in the planning stages will help to proactively reduce issues with mobile coverage that would be hard to resolve later.
The Jyväskylä working report is only available in Finnish. You can order it to your email with this form.
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