Small But Mighty: Arizona State Law Encourages WCF Infrastructure

Mobile users demand coverage, but some of the infrastructure has become much more visible than simply an oasis in the desert. That’s why Arizona state and county laws and ordinances are fostering installation of Wireless Communication Facilities (WCFs) on everything from rural utility poles to suburban traffic-light structures, to encourage more but smaller setups, reported the North Phoenix News.

According to Darren Gerard, Maricopa County deputy director of planning services, news ordinances passed in 2014 “permit antennas on just about any structure so long as size limits and other guidelines are met. In theory, a homeowner could put a WCF on their property if the 80-foot pole (the maximum allowed) is at least 160 feet from property boundaries.”

The new permit process also doesn’t require notifying neighbors of infrastructure installation and there are already over 200 WCFs across New River, Desert Hills, and Maricopa County, where the FCC sets the price for leasing space on utility poles.  

Additionally, according to Gerard, if a utility company, business or residential property owner meets the criteria for a WCF installation, the county has no discretion to deny a permit. “There will be no public hearing process,” he said, “and the neighborhood has no say-so.”

Another state law, passed in early August, encourages the installation of smaller antennas in neighborhoods and on traffic-poles to improve cell coverage and capacity between larger WCFs. Essentially, the law allows wireless carriers “to install, operate and maintain small-cell equipment in city and town rights-of-way,” according to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

September 8, 2017

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