This one’s a “no.” Recently, one of our customers called us and wanted to get a cell booster that would cover 30 acres of open space. We had to quietly apologize and say that we couldn’t do anything for something that size. We’d love to, but you just can’t get a consumer-grade cell booster that will cover that much area. Turns out that’s a good thing, and here’s why.
30 acres, which is about a million square feet, is a space far too big for consumer-level cell boosters because cell boosters are specifically designed for much smaller spaces so that they don’t interfere with each other or with the system of cell towers in place nationwide. A device that covers that much area would be considered a microcell or even a full-fledged cell tower, and would be subject to approval from the carriers and from the government.
Before you get all up in arms about the government stopping this innocent person from doing what they want to do, the government’s role here is making sure that towers don’t stomp all over each other and ruin service for everyone. They are involved in issuing the licenses that you need to run a cell tower. It’s actually not a bad thing that they’re involved in this very specific instance.
What did we say to this individual? They should definitely contact their cell carrier about the possibility of putting a microcell on the property if they’re interested. It’s not likely the carrier would put a cell there just for one customer but in some cases they will put in a microcell if the customer pays all expenses. Yes, this can get expensive but it is the way to go if you’re the only one using the cell service. Because a regular cell tower can cover about 1.5 square miles (more in some cases) it’s better to try to find out who else would benefit from coverage; for example if there are other homes or buildings in the area or if the site is close to a main road. That’s more interesting for the cell carriers because it makes it more likely that the tower will pay for itself.
It’s hard to know exactly what the right choice is for someone who wants that much coverage, but certainly one option would be the use of long-range access points like the UAP-LR which would potentially give you coverage over an area up to 250,000 square feet if it’s properly placed. Then, you could use Google Voice, Skype, or any other free calling service over Wi-Fi. More than one access point could be used if there was enough access to power on that big 30-acre spot.