5G May Not Take the Stage in Austin’s City Limits

Austin may be left behind in the preparations for 5G. After state lawmakers passed SB 1004 in 2017, making it easier for major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, to bring 5G speed and service to customers in 2019, the city sued, reported KXAN.

With Austin enacting stall tactics when it comes to 5G infrastructure, Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas said, “If you want to be a smart city, 5G has to be part of that key ingredient.”

KXAN noted some changes SB 1004 constituted, cutting fees and city regulations in favor of the telecommunications companies. Before the law, Austin charged more than $1,500 per small cell site. After the law, the city could only collect $250. The city is suing the state of Texas, accusing it of violating the supremacy clause, by telling cities what to do with their rights-of-way. Other Texas cities have filed lawsuits and The Texas Municipal League says taxpayers are losing about $750 million a year because those fees are now “capped,” reported KXAN.

To further stall 5G, Austin created a pre-application step that’s lengthening the process. Earlier this year, it was reported that more than 60 out of 80 applications had been returned to service providers.

“We are keenly aware the number of approved applications is not where we’d like them to be at but we assure you we are working on it,” said Rondella Hawkins, director of the city of Austin’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Department. Hawkins told lawmakers most of the permit requests are for downtown Austin, where crowded events got in the way. Comments? Email us

October 10, 2018

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