WIA Supports Small Cell Bill Debated in PA House With Amendment

Left: Paul Gilbert of Crown Castle and Arturo Chang of WIA give testimony to the PA House Committee. Right: Amanda Rumey, Executive Director of the House Committee on Consumer Affairs and Paul Godshall, Chairman examine a small cell antenna.        

Photos by Ashley Henry Shook, Mulberry Public Affairs

Twenty-one states have enacted legislation easing deployment of small cells, providing a unique opportunity to densify networks, provide additional coverage, and improve wireless transmissions. That legislation is similar to a measure being considered by the Pennsylvania legislature. HB 2564 author Rep. Frank Farry says the measure will provide uniform, efficient, and predictable regulation of small wireless antennas. He calls the measure “a reasonable approach that encourages wireless providers to deploy the most modern infrastructure for our constituents while maintaining local government authority in their Rights-Of-Way,” he says in the bill description.

The Wireless Infrastructure Association supported the measure overall, but recommends an amendment concerning height limit waivers. Testifying before the Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee in Harrisburg yesterday, WIA State Government Affairs Counsel Arturo Chang said one of the premises of the bill is to streamline utility pole deployment up to 50 feet in the public ROW for small cells.

“In our view, any application for a proposed structure above fifty feet should be subject to the regular zoning process of that jurisdiction,” said Chang. “Our members work closely with cities and communities around the country, and we strongly believe it is important that localities retain oversight authority for taller structures.”

Barbara Burba, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Wireless Association who testified before the committee said, “Chairman [Robert] Godshall was very specific about moving forward with the bill, and that our association would like to participate in future HB 2564 negotiations.”

The height waiver change would also be consistent with legislation passed in the 21 other states, he noted. “We believe this amendment strikes a good balance in enabling communities to maintain local control and decision making, while also providing the industry with a transparent and orderly set of standards to follow in support of improved as well as expanded service,” said Chang.

Chang told the committee members that WIA is a member of the Pennsylvania Partnership for 5G, a business and technology advocacy group that represents over 20 businesses, industries, trade associations and local governments. The partnership aims to educate and promote the deployment of 5G technology infrastructure.

August 10, 2018     

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