WIA Supports MD Small Cells Bill With Pole Height Tweak

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The Wireless Infrastructure Association testified in favor of a small cells siting bill being discussed in the Maryland legislature. MD House Bill 654 established procedures for siting small cells in public rights-of-way, including prohibiting an authority to enter into an exclusive agreement for the use of certain rights-of-way for certain purposes.

The measure also enables rates and fees for ROW use to be imposed “in a certain manner and subject to limitations,” according to the text. It also authorizes co-location.

WIA State Government Affairs Counsel Arturo Chang told the House Economic Matters Committee Thursday, WIA supports the measure with an amendment. WIA believes the measure, “will provide a balanced pathway towards expedited small cell buildout in Maryland that will spur private investment, create jobs, and usher in the deployment of next generation 5G services,” he said. 

The proposed amendment would clarify that the height of a new or modified utility pole installed in a ROW can only be up to 10 percent above the tallest existing utility pole in place as of the effective date of enactment. “The proposed amendment strikes the right balance, maintaining local community-control and decision making, while also providing industry with a transparent set of standards,” Chang testified. The language is consistent with small cell legislation enacted by 21 other states, including neighboring Delaware and Virginia.

He cited data from CTIA that estimates the wireless industry will invest over $850 million in deploying small cell technology and 5G services that will, in turn, increase Maryland’s GDP by $1.5 billion while creating at least 9,000 jobs.  Comments? Email Us.

February 25, 2019

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