Smaller Communities Prepare for 5G


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While some communities are re-inventing themselves as smart cities, many other small towns are busy deciphering what 5G means to them. Edmonds, Washington, is one of these small towns, and local publication speculates on what the roll-out could mean to their community.

Bringing 5G capabilities to an area means either new telecommunications towers or small cell deployment and all the financial implications of each. 

For example, while the FCC states that fees local governments can charge for pole attachments cannot be excessive, there is no definition of “excessive.” Communities are left to sort through the rules and interpret them as best they can. A pole attachment in Seattle generates a fee of approximately $1,884, yet the FCC ruled last autumn that a $270 pole attachment fee was “reasonable.” What is “reasonable” for a town like Edmonds?

“It feels like the FCC is telling us that they know more than we do about the permitting process, local costs and impacts,” said the director of public works for the City of Edmonds, Phil Williams. “They’re essentially saying ‘you will respond within this length of time, this is what you’ll charge, and this is what they’ll look like and where they’ll go.’ These rules don’t leave us much wiggle room, but the Edmonds City Attorney is working on an ordinance to allow Edmonds at least some ability to regulate within that framework.”

With the FCC pushing for speedy 5G implementation, and carriers eager to meet this goal, small communities don’t have a lot of time to react. “It’s a technological feeding frenzy,” observed Williams. “We’ve already had a couple of dozen applications to install small cell equipment, and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”  Comments? Email Us

January 16, 2019

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