Alexander Gamota, Senior Vice President of Bigbelly, a smart waste collection company, presented the East Hampton Village Board with a proposal to install its solar powered trash bins in and around the village.
The trash collection bin, known as a Bigbelly, is an enclosed system which contains a trash compactor and utilizes wireless technology to send an alert when it is full. A Bigbelly bin has been in place in front of Scoop du Jour on Newtown Lane for several years but upgrades to the technology since then have prompted Bigbelly to approach the board with one of its new smart waste collection solutions, the Bigbelly Telebelly.
Addressing the room, Gamota asked how many had cellular devices and how many experience poor cell coverage. He stated that Bigbelly has a solution that may help the village with its poor cellular coverage issues. Known as the Telebelly, this double station contains one unit which is the standard waste system with a fully enclosed trash compactor and another unit which houses a telecom cabinet containing cell radio equipment. A 20-foot multi-band antenna is integrated into the unit.
According to the Telebelly representative, a unit can provide anywhere from a 600 to 1000-foot radius of cellular coverage, and a 75 to 200-foot radius of Wi-Fi depending upon the line of sight. The Wi-Fi is, according to Gamota, “solar-power supported” and is similar to having a router in your home.
To provide the cellular service, Bigbelly would partner with a cellular provider such as AT&T or Verizon. However, only the customers of the selected provider would benefit from the Telebelly unit. Another unit would need to be installed within 100 feet with a different provider to accommodate other customers. Gamota admitted that this may not be a solution everywhere in the village, especially at the beaches. However, it may provide a solution for public safety by enhancing the cellular service for emergency services.
“We applaud the innovation and technology that you are offering here today,” said Mayor Paul Rickenbach. However, the mayor indicated that “our village is very sensitive to aesthetics and that would be an important criterion.”
He asked, “Has the company looked into any way of making the antenna smaller or shorter, and with technology as it is unfolding, do you see this becoming a reality?” Gamota responded that the company was “very receptive to the concept.”
Village board members requested that Bigbelly do a pilot program and put both units in place for a period of time. The Bigbelly representative stated that he will get back to the board to work out the possibility of a pilot program in the village.