September 28, 2021
Event-goers in the Gulf States region are benefitting from a unique program that implements temporary cell sites to boost wireless service for large events. These deployments are completed by the KGPCo Mobility COW & COLT Program.
Cell Towers on Wheels and Cell Towers on Light Trucks—dubbed COWs and COLTs—serve the purpose of providing additional temporary cell coverage in areas when and where it’s needed.
This program does much more than support events. KGPCo started working the COW/COLT program in September 2020, in disaster restoration efforts following Hurricane Laura. Hurricane effects damaged cell towers across southern Louisiana. By installing COWs/COLTs and jack-up towers, temporary service was restored in the area, ensuring service for restoration teams and residents with continued wireless connectivity.
In response to damage caused by Hurricane Ida this month, KGPCo erected a 106' jack-up tower and COW in Cocodrie, LA, at Louisiana's southern coast. The structure restored cell service in the area and will remain in service until damage that the permanent cell towers sustained are repaired.
Realizing the value of these solutions, the program quickly expanded to include COW/COLT deployments at large sporting and festival events, tackling the congestion issues associated with an influx of people vying for service in relatively small coverage areas.
To-date, KGPCo’s Gulf States Wireless team has completed a dozen COW/COLT site projects, including a deployment in Pensacola, Florida, for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels airshow in July.
In May 2021, a COW was deployed at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama, to deliver extra capacity that nearby cell towers could not fully accommodate with the expected volume of spectators at the NCAA SEC Baseball Tournament. The KGPCo team outfitted the Civil and Radio Frequency equipment inside the enclosed indoor COW - work done in the weeks prior to the tournament - as well as the Radio Frequency Line and Antenna buildout on location.
Deployments aren’t limited to disaster restoration and events. Earlier this year, a COW was installed in Rogersville, Alabama. This project developed out of high demand for better wireless coverage from residents in the rural town. The wireless carrier responded with the temporary COW site installation while a new permanent tower site is under construction.
Another unique piece of the COW program are water tank deployments. When water tanks need maintenance, cellular equipment installed on the tank has to be removed to allow the project to be completed by the tank owner. Our team sets up a temporary site to ensure wireless service remains uninterrupted. Portable generator deployments are also part of the program. During these deployments, back-up generators are utilized to keep cell sites powered during commercial power failure.
KGPCo’s COW/COLT program is led by Program Manager, Adam Waggoner. Waggoner and his team are stationed in KGPCo’s Hammond, Louisiana, facility and they manage the program end-to-end, including site design, construction, integration and decommissioning, warehousing and back office operations.
In addition to site deployments, Waggoner and his team manage maintenance and storage of the 60+ unit COW/COLT fleet, making certain the equipment remains in proper working condition and ready for deployment.
“This is a very unique program and is a big win for the company. We are executing these builds at a very high-quality level,” Waggoner said. “It’s not only an event program. As the hurricane season and tornado season stir up, we are positioned to support getting these temporary sites installed wherever they’re needed so people do not have to be without important cell coverage, especially at time of disaster.”
Exciting things lie ahead for the KGPCo COW/COLT team. Deployments are planned for sites in New Orleans, including deployments for Jazz & Heritage Fest in October, Mardi Gras and VooDoo Music & Arts Experience in 2022, a site at the former Hard Rock Café in NOLA and two COLT deployments at Talladega Superspeedway this year to support large crowds.
KGPCo’s Wireless division hopes to expand the COW/COLT program into other markets.