State Senate Bill to Ease Small Cell Installation is a “Real Slap in the Face”


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Michigan lawmakers finalized and sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature, a bill to ease small cell deployment. When signed, Michigan would become the 21st state to enact laws that streamline regulations to facilitate 5G small cells, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senate Bill 637 approves statewide regulations for the installation of 5G small cells on telephone poles, traffic signals, and other infrastructure, according to the Associated Press.  The bill, backed by Verizon and AT&T, stipulates that state or municipalities charge no more than $20 annually for a wireless provider to co-locate an antenna on each existing utility pole or cell tower, or $125 a year on ones built after the law takes effect. Rates could go up by 10 percent every five years, reported Associated Press.

According to AT&T Michigan President David Lewis, “Senate Bill 637 and the investment it will encourage are vital to building out Michigan’s broadband infrastructure and the Legislature is right to take it up.”

Opposition from local governments claim the measure is an infringement on the use of public rights-of-way and on their ability to cover costs, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Additionally, concerns over aesthetics and health effects were cited.

Ed Noyola, deputy director for the County Road Association of Michigan, said the legislation would supersede agreements that have already been reached at the local level “and throws everything out the window…That seems like a real slap in the face as far as we’re concerned, from the standpoint that we still have to manage the right-of-way” alongside roads.  Comments? Email us.

December 3, 2018