The “Big Easy” is On Its Way To Becoming One “Smart City”

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The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved rules governing small cell networks last Thursday — technology that council members said could aid their use of data, to drive government decisions and put New Orleans on a par with other forward-looking cities, reported the New Orleans Advocate.

Members hope the move will not only positively impact speeds on personal devices but also set the stage for the deployment of pedestrian sensors at traffic lights and other government software aimed at making New Orleans a “smart city.”

“We realized that our code, which was last updated … decades ago, did not account for wireless technologies,” said Councilman Jason Williams, the chairman of the council’s Smart and Sustainable Cities Committee.

 He added that such technologies are needed if the city hopes to, “train the 21st-century workforce to be ready for 21st-century jobs.”

The council and Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration have been working on the new rules for months, anticipating an order from the FCC that was finalized in January about the fees jurisdictions could levy on companies seeking to install the devices.

The rules state that no company can mount a small cell node or other equipment on an electricity pole or any other city property without first signing a franchise agreement with the city and receiving a city permit, reported the Advocate. Franchise agreements will generally last for 10 or 15 years but can be extended. Companies will pay a series of fees associated with their agreements, and will also pay pole use fees and be subjected to other costs.

Fees were also approved last Thursday; AT&T will pay $25,000 per year for an initial 15-square-mile deployment area, which will increase by $500 per year, for each additional square mile where small cells are deployed, not to exceed a total of $100,000 a year. Southern Light of Alabama and Verizon will pay $300 per wireless facility, per year that is installed on a city-owned asset.

March 19, 2019

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