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Published on Friday, April 7, 2017

Discussions continue on small cell deployment

While SB 5711 is officially dead for this year, discussions continue about permitting of small cell facilities, pole attachment rates and other costs, and the need for more rural broadband. Cities, PUDs, Ports, telecommunications and cable companies all have been attending regular meetings with Governor Inslee’s staff to discuss areas of possible agreement. There is a lot to disagree about, but for cities, there are two areas of particular concern: language that would preempt city authority to manage Rights-of-Way and city-owned infrastructure, and authority over municipal utility pole attachment policies.

As an alternative to preemption in the areas of permitting, ROW management and city-owned infrastructure, 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 in urban areas during the next several years; therefore, cities can begin planning now to be ready for it.

To read the latest draft of the city proposal, click here. Share your comments with Victoria Lincoln or Dave Catterson at AWC.

Categories: Telecommunications