Ganzi’s Freshwave to install small-cell network in heart of London

Simon Frumkin Freshwave 16x9.jpg

UK tower company Cornerstone is partnering with Freshwave, owned by DigitalBridge, to build a small-cell network in London’s financial centre.

Freshwave will be upgrading existing infrastructure in part of what’s called the Square Mile to make it capable of delivering multi-operator 4G and 5G connectivity at street level using dark fibre and small cells.

Simon Frumkin (pictured), Freshwave’s CEO, said: “I’m pleased that we’re partnering with Cornerstone on this prestigious project. The City of London is one of the pre-eminent financial districts in the world and we’re proud to be bringing our leading multi-operator network service expertise to this pilot.”

Cornerstone was set up a decade ago as a passive infrastructure provider for Telefónica and Vodafone, but the aim is to make the City of London network available to other operators. Marc Ganzi united three of his UK operations under the Freshwave brand in 2020.

“If the pilot is successful, the ambition is for a City-wide deployment that will deliver faster mobile connectivity speeds across the Square Mile,” said Frumkin.

The project will start with 10 sites covering Bank, Mansion House, the Millennium Bridge and Blackfriars. It is expected to be live from October.

The shareable infrastructure will allow improved connectivity while minimising the amount of street equipment, said Cornerstone.

“Freshwave will work with the [mobile network operators] to deliver an improved user experience for mobile users within the pilot area.”

Denis Coakley, Cornerstone’s COO, said: “As a long-standing partner of the City of London Corporation, we’re looking forward to facilitating the next step in the evolution of the City’s connectivity with Freshwave. Deploying the latest technology, in the newest ways, is critical to delivering the cutting-edge connectivity the City deserves.”

The company will install bespoke antennas on the upgraded infrastructure and – with multiple pieces of telecoms equipment being housed in the accompanying cabinets – there will be fewer devices needed on the street assets themselves. The cabinets will be connected via dark fibre.