Cellcom Activates Small Cells on Washington Island to Enhance Wireless Service

Small Cell Tower

December 14, 2023 – Local wireless provider Cellcom has added two small cells on Washington Island to improve service for residents and visitors. These are the first of four small cells that Cellcom is adding to the island and were made possible by the significant investment in fiber throughout Door County.

Small cells are miniature, low-powered cell sites that can be placed in popular areas to further improve the wireless experience. They are supported by fiber connections back to a traditional cell site tower.

"With the recent fiber investments on the island, we are able to offer creative solutions that fit the areas that need coverage without obstructing the beauty that people come to enjoy," said Rick Brooks, chief technical officer for Cellcom. "Small cells are installed on utility poles in most cases, and we furthered our partnership with Washington Island Electric Cooperative to make each of these projects a reality. The enhanced service will help meet customer demands and improve safety for residents and visitors."

Bringing fiber to the island began more than a decade ago, when Cellcom began constructing what is known as middle-mile fiber from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock, connecting its cell sites throughout the county to fiber. In 2022, in partnership with Washington Island Electric Cooperative (WIEC), Cellcom extended its fiber network to Washington Island. From there WIEC continues the fiber expansion to bring it to homes, businesses and anchor institutions throughout the island. This fiber-to-the-premise expansion paved the way for small cells and as it progresses will pave the way for more.

Cellcom’s first two small cells are located at School House Beach and near the intersection of Main Rd. and Michigan Rd. In 2024, the company will add small cells near Jackson Harbor and along Lobdell Point Rd to provide coverage between the ferry harbor and Main Rd. A potential fifth small cell site is currently being investigated for the Southeast corner of the Island near Njord Heim. Issues of terrain and tree foliage are obstacles that will need to be overcome in order to make this fifth site a reality.