Bill Strikes a Compromise Between Cities and Telecom Over Small Cells

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Municipal leaders and telecommunications-industry representatives worked together for three months to craft House Bill 478, giving municipalities the ability to regulate the placement and appearance of small cells on public structures in Ohio, reported The Columbus Dispatch.

“There was a lot of give-and-take by both sides, but it worked out well,” said Brad McLean, AT&T’s director of external affairs in Ohio. This comes one year after dozens of cities and villages sued the state over how to regulate wireless equipment…and won. Now, a compromise is being reached with the bill.

Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel said of the proposed measure, “This provides more predictability and speed to the industry, while also protecting the character of our cities. That’s what we’ve been trying to balance throughout this process.” 

Ohio is not the only state affected by small cell technology regulation. Fifteen states already have enacted legislation to modernize rules related to small cell technology deployment, said Jilane Rodgers Petrie, spokeswoman for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.  

Columbus stands to benefit the most in Ohio, with 5G technology expected to create more than 8,000 new jobs and generate $1.31 billion in gross domestic product growth, the CTIA report said.

According to local city leaders, the economic impact of small cells in preparation for 5G coupled with the need to provide cutting-edge wireless capabilities to residents and businesses made the compromise crucial, reported the Dispatch.

If Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich signs the bill into law, it will become effective 90 days later.

April 24, 2018         

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