Carriers Not Pleased With Small Cell Policy Compromise

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Earlier this year, Norwalk City Council (CA) approved new regulations for small cells, including lower fees, reported the Whittier Daily News. Now, the council voted on additional changes to local rules in response to complaints from carriers.

According to the Daily News, the changes include:

  • Increasing the maximum height of small cells in the public right-of-way on top of existing poles by one foot — from 4 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 6 inches.
  • Ground-mounted equipment, including electric meter pedestals, will be allowed if “it is the least intrusive or obstructive alternative.”
  • For replacement streetlights to accommodate new small cell facilities, the photometrics must be consistent with existing city streetlights.
  • New, non-replacement poles cannot be higher than similar poles within the immediate vicinity.
  • The city will make a good faith effort to provide as much notice as possible when doing work in the public right-of-way that may require the movement or relocation of wireless equipment.
  • Companies are allowed to keep electronic records, instead of hard copies of documents.

Some in the wireless industry believe more changes are needed, but council members call the updates a compromise. “What we need to do is move forward to a point where we can figure it out,” Councilwoman Jennifer Perez said. “It’s a living, breathing document. We need to move forward.”

According to Jessica Serrano, city planning manager, wireless companies want to rent out many of the approximately 2,700 city-owned light poles. Norwalk already has 60 applications, 17 of which have been approved and six installed, Serrano added.

December 6, 2019

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