Small cell equipment collocation policy decisions were made in Minnesota last year. The timing worked so that the wireless providers could prepare for the Super Bowl. (Just last month House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee heard about the results of the policy – especially how it streamlined the Super Bowl preparation.) At that meeting I heard AT&T mention testing in rural areas. I am very interested in learn more about that! I remember last year that the negotiation for the bill was hard fought – because both side had good points. People want wireless. People want local control of public rights of way. People want to know who is going to pay for or be responsible for what.
The discussion of small cell collocation continues outside of Minnesota. I’m including it here because it’s an interesting reminder of the different cards that public and private entities hold and how that has an impact on the game of getting better broadband to everyone. I think the answer in Minnesota worked for the Twin Cities and worked for the Super Bowl; again I’m interested in learning more about the impact in rural areas…
Thirty-Six Mayors and Elected Leaders Send Letter to FCC in Defense of Local Decision-Making Around 5G Investments
Letter Accompanied by New Market Research Revealing 5G, Smart City Deployment Trends Surveying 175+ Communities
Washington, DC (March 15, 2018) — Thirty-six mayors and elected local leaders from the bipartisan membership organization Next Century Cities sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today in defense of local decision-making around 5G investments, small cell deployment, and the use of public rights-of-way. Next Century Cities also released new research the organization commissioned that surveyed 176 community officials on 5G and small cell deployments and smart city applications.
Three mayors who signed the letter and the key researcher for the new survey will be on a media call TODAY at 1pm ET to answer questions (dial-in: (872) 240-3412; Access Code: 310-203-829).
The mayoral letter to the FCC pushes back on the narrative that local leaders are a barrier to small cell deployment, instead calling for collaboration between industry and municipalities. The 36 signatories, who together represent nearly 8 million Americans, include Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who recently resigned from the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) because of similar concerns.
“As mayors, we feel that some commissioners have wrongly cast local governments as a main barrier to next generation wireless deployments, using us as a scapegoat for larger issues: “We are concerned that the Commission will take actions that harm the public by decreasing our local authority without actually resolving the key problems that are limiting increased investment in better networks,” the letter states. Read the full letter here.
Next Century Cities also released new research, conducted by independent researcher RVA LLC, that includes survey results from 176 local government employees about the primary objectives and concerns of local leaders around smart city technology and small cell deployment.
“We are pleased to release this independently conducted research on how and where 5G is being considered and deployed, as well as the status of smart cities applications currently in use. Contrary to the narrative that locally elected officials are a barrier to implementation, they are in fact eager to collaborate with providers to expedite the deployment of the necessary infrastructure to bring innovation and opportunity to their communities,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities.
According to the research, small cell deployment is well underway. Nearly half of respondents (44%) have deployed small cells in their communities, while an additional 26% are considering deployment. As deployment spreads, local leaders indicated widespread concern around federal and state preemption: 84% of survey respondents believed that state laws under consideration related to pole use for small cells were negative to their community, while only 3% believed they were positive. See the full research here and a Fact Sheet with more details here.
The new 5G/smart city survey also found that small cell deployment is mostly happening in larger communities that have fiber. For instance, 93% of communities with populations larger than 500,000 responded that they were pursuing smart city applications.