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Published on Friday, January 13, 2017

Senate committee holds another work session on small cell networks

The Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee held a second work session on the issue of deploying small cell telecommunications technology in the rights of way and on publicly owned facilities. This time, local government stakeholders provided their perspective on permitting, zoning, timelines and cost. A good discussion ensued about the challenges with adopting a law that would affect all communities across the state uniformly. There are many issues that arise around ownership of utility poles; adding new structures in the rights of way, safety and aesthetic concerns of attaching equipment to existing structures, timelines for permits, and so forth. Committee members asked many good questions.

In order for Washington State to be competitive in the future 5G market and to densify the existing 4G market, Chairman Ericksen (R-Ferndale) stated his goals to minimize or reduce barriers, adopt a fair and seamless process, and to eliminate excessive fees and regulations.

As reported last week, cities have been meeting regularly with Verizon to discuss this matter and AWC has agreed to meet again after this work session. For cities, a good goal would be to help cities update their codes to be ready for small cell deployment.

As the legislative session progresses, we want to make sure we communicate with cities expressing an interest in this issue. We will post regular updates in the Bulletin, provide periodic briefings to interested cities, and utilize a city work group to help guide discussions with the industry. Contact Victoria Lincoln or Dave Catterson at AWC for comments or questions.

Categories: Telecommunications
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