Tucson Throws the Small Cell “Rule Book” at Telecoms

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Tucson, AZ recently released a 5G small cell manual to serve as the “rule book” to curtail battles between residents, the city, AT&T and Verizon. KOLD-TV reported that the terms and conditions of the manual outline where small cell infrastructure can live.

“For instance, they [small cells] cannot be put through people’s landscape anymore,” according to Councilman Steve Kozachik. “They [small cells] cannot be within 150 feet of another vertical element … [which forces] a conversation about co-location.”

KOLD reported that residents and the city had “zero say” regarding 5G towers before the manual was released. Kozachik added that the guidelines enable better communication with residents regarding potential projects and open dialogue to discuss options.

Even with the improved guidelines, some residents are still unhappy. One neighbor said 5G towers are “unnecessary, an eyesore, and a health hazard,” adding that they are, “a source of damage to one’s physiology, cognition, health, and so on.”

However, spokespeople from both AT&T and Verizon noted the benefits of small cell deployment in Tucson. Heidi Flato from Verizon said small cells will improve service for customers, and AT&T’s Toni M. Broberg said the company will work “to minimize impact to the community while bringing additional wireless broadband connectivity.”

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