By John Shumway


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A slow Internet connection, text messages that won’t send, email that doesn’t deliver right away, it can all be very frustrating.

But, in the City of Pittsburgh, steps are being taken to improve the situation, and it’s happening right under your nose. Or, more literally, right over your head.

By design, you are not supposed to notice them, but they kind of look like “Lumiere” from “Beauty and the Beast.” But what is the thing lurking over the bus stop on Stanwix Street?

They’re actually called “nodes” and you may be benefiting from them and not even realize it. They are essentially mini cell phone and data towers.

“They are placed in locations where communications are very difficult with cell phones, iPads and anything wireless,” said Pittsburgh’s Operations Chief Guy Costa. “You’ll see a quicker response and a quicker usage of your equipment.”

Costa says Crown Castle started with the ones near the University of Pittsburgh where there are three just a few blocks apart along Bigelow Boulevard near the Cathedral of Learning.

Now, they’re also cropping up in Downtown Pittsburgh.

“You’ll see about 130 just in the city of Pittsburgh alone,” Costa says.

They are being placed in the cell dead zones in the canyons of downtown and in places like Point State Park where there are often crowds.

Shum-10 it’s going from here to here quicker than from here to some tower far away.

For the city, it grants the right-of-way for construction, and in return, gets an additional LED street light.

“The city will collect a fee from the revenue generate from these nodes throughout the city,” Costa says.

Right now, Costa says Verizon is one the only carrier contracting to use the nodes, but Crown Castle is working to get the other carriers to use them as well.

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