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Published on Monday, May 8, 2017

Small cell deployment update

As reported in previous Bulletins, discussions continue about small cell facility permitting, pole attachment rates, costs to attach to city-owned structures, and the need for more rural broadband. Cities, PUDs, Ports, telecommunications and cable companies have all been attending regular meetings with Governor Inslee’s staff to discuss areas of possible agreement. Cities remain strong about a couple of areas of particular concern: language that would preempt city authority to manage Rights-of-Way, language that would restrict what cities could charge for new facilities in the rights of way and on city-owned infrastructure, and authority over municipal utility pole attachment policies.

Recognizing that small cell facilities are coming to cities around the state for use during emergencies and as a new service offered by wireless companies, AWC and cities are refining language that would require cities above 5,000 population to adopt a small cell facility ordinance establishing a process for deployment of this infrastructure. This would give each individual city more flexibility to adopt an ordinance that would fit their own needs. Cities over 20,000 population would need to have an ordinance in place by the first of 2018, and cities above 5,000 population by July 2018. It seems clear that this new technology is going to be deployed over the next several years therefore cities can begin planning now to be ready for it.

To help city staff and elected officials gain a better understanding of this infrastructure, AWC will have a workshop on this subject at the June AWC Annual Conference and will provide other opportunities to get additional information.

Categories: Telecommunications