Massachusetts Towns Are Rebelling Against Siting Fees


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UPDATE  The pushback from local municipalities toward small cell citing fees has begun in cities across the country as Inside Towers reported last Friday.  Massachusetts is no exception.  Officials in local areas around the state have expressed concerns about the potential billions of dollars to be lost by the FCC’s ruling.  The Massachusetts Municipal Organization is heading up an effort to sue the Commission, asserting the public will be financially supporting the expansion of 5G.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh commented, “benefit from private companies should not come at a cost to the taxpayers of Boston and should not strip local municipalities of their ability to oversee public rights-of-way.”  

Unless a city can rationalize higher fees for installation, the federal ruling plans to cap fees at $1,000 for new poles, $500 for an existing pole, and $270 per pole, per year going forward. This is a considerable decrease, as Boston currently charges up to $2,500 per pole, per year, according to the Globe.  

To prevent lag in processing the influx of installation approvals, the FCC has set a cap on the review time, changing it from the previous 120 days required in Massachusetts to a 90 day period.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr commented that many small towns are in favor of the ruling, and the order will motivate “a lot more 5G deployment.” Carr said companies will save around $2 billion yearly, aiding in 5G expansion all over the United States.

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October 8, 2018