RS Fiber Announces Faster Wireless Broadband Speeds and Expanded Coverage

Good news from RS Fiber…

Winthrop, MN – RS Fiber has announced it will be offering a second level of broadband speed and expanding coverage area of its wireless broadband service, RS Air.

Company officials say a download speed of 50 Mbps will be available to RS Air customers. This is an enhanced option from the 25 Mbps currently offered for the rural broadband service. The 50 Mbps speed is currently available to 90% of the wireless broadband service area.

Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC), the operator for the RS Fiber Network, has served high speed broadband wireless service of 50 Mbps in its own HBC markets for the past year. Following a period of testing in the RS Fiber network, the service became available in August.

HBC President & CEO, Dan Pecarina, states that this speed increase will be of great value customers.

“Our mission at RS Fiber is to bring the best service possible to our customers whether that is Gigabit service from the fiber optic network in town or broadband wireless to the most rural areas of the townships we serve. With more households using more devices, this speed increase option will make it easier for the kids to do their homework at night and for mom and dad to get their online work done too.”

The coverage area of RS Air will also increase with the addition of several new towers. Toby Brummer, RS Fiber General Manager, said that the availability of RS Air service depends on the signal levels received from the tower to the home or business.  He said anyone interested in RS Air wireless broadband service should call (800) 628-1754 to schedule a site check to see if RS Air service is available at their location.

MN Broadband Task Force: Fixed wireless, satellite, CAF and MN grant challenge process

Today the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met; the topics of the day were fixed wireless and satellite. It was interesting to hear from the various vendors. In short they got an update on what’s going on with fixed wireless and then a demo of satellite. (There was public feedback in the form of letters that came in from rural satellite users.)

I think most folks in the room would agree that this is the B-side of broadband. (There might not be agreement on whether they will stay on the B-side.) These are the folks that are interested in serving rural areas and/or in playing the role of competitor to an incumbent provider. We heard dismay at how CAF money is being spent on expanding slower connections – rather than upgrading services. The presenters attract customers who have slow connections and whose providers have said they have no plans to upgrade. They see the frustration and are able to capitalize on it by offering service that they say is better.

One red flag was a discussion on the CBRS (citizen band radio spectrum) and fear that the government may sell that public property to the highest bidder. A bidder that may choose to not use the spectrum. The problem is that can keep the competition away – leaving community members with limited choice for broadband.

Folks were also talking about the grant challenge process for the MN broadband funds in light of what’s happening in Kandiyohi County. (I will try to get more details on what’s going on there.) The issue is that a grant applicant must inform an incumbent (or nearby) provider if they intend to seek funds to upgrade service. Then the incumbent/nearby provider has a chance to challenge. One issue is that even if they don’t challenge – they know competition is coming, which means they can make just enough changes to make it difficult for the newcomer to the area. (Discussion at 3:30 in video below.)

Lots of interesting discussion….

 Here are more detailed notes… Continue reading

What’s the take on Microsoft’s proposal to bring broadband to rural areas?

I wrote about the Microsoft proposal to bring broadband to rural areas when it first came out. I had some reservations – many based on satellite being the solution for the last mile. I think that leaves that last mile falling farther and farther down the digital divide. I’ve seen a few other takes on Microsoft’s plan; others have reservations too.

Susan Crawford (in Wired) points out that Microsoft is really looking at broadband for the Internet of Things…

Here’s what’s really going on: Microsoft is aiming to be the soup-to-nuts provider of Internet of Things devices, software, and consulting services to zillions of local and national governments around the world. Need to use energy more efficiently, manage your traffic lights, target preventative maintenance, and optimize your public transport—but you’re a local government with limited resources and competence? Call Microsoft. …

Now let’s get behind those laudatory headlines in the Times and Post. Microsoft doesn’t want to have to rely on existing mobile data carriers to execute those plans. Why? Because the carriers will want a pound of flesh—a percentage—in exchange for shipping data generated by Microsoft devices from Point A to Point B. These costs can become very substantial over zillions of devices in zillions of cities. The carriers have power because, in many places, they are the only ones allowed to use airwave frequencies—spectrum—under licenses from local governments for which they have paid hundreds of millions of dollars. To eliminate that bottleneck, it will be good to have unlicensed spectrum available everywhere, and cheap chipsets and devices available that can opportunistically take advantage of that spectrum. …

And hustled is what we will be if we believe that Microsoft’s plans, by themselves, will fix America’s desperate internet access problem in rural areas. You see, while using white spaces will certainly be better than nothing in rural locations, those guard bands simply aren’t wide enough to allow for genuine, world-class internet data transmission to human beings in living rooms. Not possible. Not enough bandwidth. True, where commercial mobile radio (like AT&T and Verizon) isn’t available at all, white spaces will definitely help. You could use it for Internet of Things applications that are very very useful, as in advanced agriculture—don’t need to send much data to do that. But you would never use a white spaces transmission service alone if you didn’t have to. You’d end up with maybe a handful of Mbps or even less—hundreds of times less than what people with fiber would be getting. White spaces will definitely be another arrow in the quiver used by local fixed wireless operations, but they are no kind of substitute for actual great consumer internet access in rural areas.

From a discussion with Harold Feld on Community Broadband Network’s Podcast

And again, it’s important to recognize that TV White Space isn’t so much a technology as a bunch of frequencies we’re opening up so that people can develop new technologies. Right now, and again, it’s important to keep in mind there’s a difference between speeds you get in the laboratory, versus speeds that you can actually get in the real world. Right now, I think what they’re talking about is putting out networks that would operate at 45 megabits per second, symmetrical both ways, which, in a lot of rural areas, is much better than what you now. Even for a lot of folks in urban areas, if you do it cheaply and affordably, that’s better than the options that are available at much higher prices from the cable companies. The problem is wireless is very complicated, and we’re talking about devices that are operating at comparatively very low power. Television stations operate at 50,000 watts. Your TV White Space device is operating at one watt for the fixed devices, even less than that in microwatts for the more mobile devices when those come out. So, the other thing that people have to keep in mind is your speed or your broadband network isn’t just about the wireless part, it also then depends a lot on the back haul, what’s available. If you’re using wireless to bring it back to some place where it will land on fiber for back haul, then every hop cost to you moves from one tower to another, costs you more speed. So, we’re probably talking initially things that are more in the range of 10 megabits per second down with potentially the same or slightly less up. So, initially, this is going to be good for people who don’t really have anything, and it will give them stuff that’s useful, but not up to where it needs to be. Now, again, the technology’s going to keep getting better as it moves along, and the Microsoft folks have said, “We’re depending on a bunch of other inputs; we’re depending on the FCC doing things to make it possible to use the spectrum more effectively; we’re depending on finding ways to do things like getting fiber out, not in the communities to serve the communities, at least close enough that we can use it as back haul for the networks that are set up with these TV White Space devices.” So, everybody should keep in mind — Listeners should keep in mind that we’re at the beginning here. In rural areas, you have a lot of open TV White Spaces, because you have a lot of unused channels. That gives you a lot of capacity so you can get better speed on the wireless side, but that’s offset by having, in a lot of places, still needing to use copper, or some kind of wireless for you back haul. So, that drops the parent speed. I would say look for this to be more like eight to ten megabits locally, at least in the first generation deployments.

Craig Settle via Daily Yonder points out that local communities must have some ownership …

What’s really at issue here is that if communities are not holding the driving wheel on broadband projects and they don’t own or at least rent the vehicle, they are ultimately a passenger in someone else’s ride. At some point, the needs of the network owner could trump the needs of the community.

Odasz recalls that, “we have not seen Microsoft do any meaningful outreach to rural America as in terms of meeting the particular web-based challenges that these communities have. Microsoft’s TVWS strategy relies heavily on incumbents and politicians, which historically have fallen short on resolving rural broadband needs.”

Odasz believes that the private sector is all in favor of training that could lead to jobs such as programming or working in a data center. However, they fall short when teaching displaced workers in manufacturing or mining how to become e-commerce entrepreneurs, or how to use broadband to improve in their current blue-collar or professional Jobs. The politics of communication regulation have led politicians to support “incumbents” – the legacy telephone companies – rather than new approaches. Programs to help constituents defray the cost of broadband can be hit or miss.

Similar to Google’s entry into broadband, the Microsoft TVWS announcement is good news for getting infrastructure into more places, particularly within rural communities. The jury is still out has to how much this new connectivity will improve local economies, education, and healthcare for those in the communities who need broadband most.

Microsoft positioning to spread broadband to rural areas. I have some questions

Microsoft unveiled its plan for bringing broadband to rural areas by July 4, 2022. It involves TV white spaces spectrum, fixed wireless, and satellite coverage. There’s a lot of like; there’s a lot to question. So borrowing from their report and other info I could find (noted when appropriate) I’m going to outline the questions I had about their plan.

How are they going to do it?

Specifically, a technology model that uses a combination of the TV white spaces spectrum, fixed wireless, and satellite coverage can reduce the initial capital and operating costs by roughly 80 percent compared with the cost of using fiber cables alone, and by approximately 50 percent compared with the cost of current LTE fixed wireless technology.

One key to deploying this strategy successfully is to use the right technology in the right places.

TV white spaces2 is expected to provide the best approach to reach approximately 80 percent of this underserved rural population, particularly in areas with a population density between two and 200 people per square mile.

Microsoft itself has considerable experience with this technology, having deployed 20 TV white spaces projects worldwide that have served 185,000 users.

But TV white spaces alone will not provide the complete solution. Satellite coverage is expected to be the most cost-effective solution for most areas with a population density of less than two people per square mile, and LTE fixed wireless for most areas with a density greater than 200 people per square mile. This mixed model for expanding broadband coverage will likely bring the total national cost of closing the rural broadband gap to roughly $10 billion.

How are they defining broadband?

Not once in their report did I read a definition of broadband. So by default, I’m going to assume they are using the FCC definition: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (25/3). I wonder if the goal will change as the FCC definition of broadband increases. Their stated goal implies that it will…

The time is right for the nation to set a clear and ambitious, but achievable goal: to eliminate the rural broadband gap within the next five years—by July 4, 2022— through a new Rural Broadband Strategy.

They allude to 4G a lot in the report. I think it’s worth noting that in urban areas, providers are talking up 5G. If we’re looking at parity, I might be looking at 5G in rural areas too. That being said, I recognize that the 5G standard isn’t yet set but the expected roadblocks would require early investigation.

Will the technologies they suggest meet those goals?

I’ve had to more away from the report to answer this – since again they don’t go into speeds.

I’ve written about satellite a lot – they are now claiming speeds of 25/3. Folks from the front-lines have certainly reported that satellite doesn’t work well for them. (Troubles with telehealth and costs.) And there doesn’t seem to be much room for increasing upload speeds, which means the 20 percent relying on satellite will be no better off.

Broadcasting & Cable had some info on the expectations of white space ability – but based on Microsoft’s claims…

Smith showed several prototype receivers, some of which Microsoft has used in field trials in 20 global locations ranging from Kenya to Taiwan to Washington state. The devices, built by Adaptrum, 6Harmonics and Aviacomm, are priced at under $800 now, and he said the prices would fall to $200 or less. They will be able to carry data at speeds up to 400 Megabits per second, he said, with initial models now operating at 25 Mbps and 40 Mbps. He said that Microsoft has run about 20 projects reaching 185,000 users—insisting that “this technology is ready to take off.”

Telecompetitor wrote (in 2015) about increase to white space speeds based on new standards (802.22 to 802.22b). This may be superfluous since Microsoft’s paper talks only about 802.22 but I found it interesting…

TV white spaces broadband wireless technology is on track to see a doubling in the speeds it can support, now that the IEEE has approved the 802.22b standard.

The new version of the point-to-multipoint standard can support speeds of 50 Mbps or more, said Apurva N. Mody, chairman of the IEEE 802.22 standard working group, in an email exchange with Telecompetitor.  In comparison, top speeds were 22-29 Mbps for the previous generation of the technology based on the 802.22 standard.

Additionally the number of users the technology can support will increase from 512 to 8,192 users, Mody said. While 8,192 users might sound like overkill, that capability could be important for machine-to-machine and Internet of Things communications.

Why is Microsoft doing this?

Our goal is not to profit directly from these projects, although we of course recognize that expanded broadband coverage will bring new commercial opportunities for every company in the tech sector that provides cloud services, including our own. We will rely on a business model focused on investing in the upfront capital projects needed to expand broadband coverage, and then seek a revenue share from operators to recoup our investment. We will use these revenue proceeds to invest in additional projects to expand coverage further over the next five years.

I wish I had a better feel for what revenue share meant – especially with Net Neutrality in question. But regardless – Google and Facebook have both jumped into the broadband provider business. (In fact Microsoft and Facebook built a cable from Easter US to Spain last year.) I think the connection to selling more ads was a more obvious payoff for them but it set a precedent and Microsoft cloud computing business would gain new customers with ubiquitous broadband.

Microsoft is starting with 12 states. Minnesota is not one of them but our neighbors are (North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin). It will be interesting to see how this works.

MVTV Wireless is offering faster speeds

I just heard that MVTV wireless is now offering faster fixed wireless speeds. As I’ve said many times – the world is going to want and need wired and wireless today and in the future. MVTV is good about going into areas that are still waiting for a better wired solution. And now their service is getting a little better:

  • Up to 25 Mbps
  • Unlimited data

Here’s some info from their website on how it works…

Now there is an uncomplicated, cost effective way for your business or household to get access to the internet. It is the  HIGH SPEED, HIGH CAPACITY BROADBAND Wireless Internet service being offered by MVTV Wireless. MVTV will transmit internet signal from one of over 100 access points throughout our coverage area to a small radio antenna at the subscriber’s location.

Small Cell wireless equipment collocation bill passes in Minnesota

The last I left the wireless equipment collocation bill there was agreement but a few details outstanding. It looks like some of the loose ends were tied and it’s been signed.

Here are some of the details outlined by AGL Media Group

The final bill sets fees for small cell attachments to municipal structures at $150 a year plus $25 for maintenance and a monthly fee for electricity use. …

“Fees paid to collocate on municipal poles were always the most contentious part,” O’Neill said. “The negotiations really got stuck on the rental fee for quite a few hours. The cities wanted an exorbitant amount into the thousands of dollars.”

The bill also designates small cell deployment as a permitted use in public rights-of-way, except in areas zoned for single-family residential use and in historic districts, where a conditional use or special permit may be required. It establishes a 90-day shot clock for application approvals or denials and also prohibits moratoria on small cell deployment.

Consolidated permit applications are allowed for the collocation of up to 15 small wireless facilities, although the municipality may allow more. To be aggregated, the small cells must use similar equipment, be placed on similar support structures and be located within a two-mile radius. If applications for more than 30 small wireless facilities are received in a seven-day period, a municipality may extend the 90-day review period by 30 days.

It’s legislation that’s getting around…

Minnesota is one of nine states that have passed small cell legislation so far, including Iowa, Kansas, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona and Colorado. Four more bills are working their way through the process in California, Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina.

Small cell wireless equipment collocation agreement in MN

The Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance met late Sunday night The conference committee report for SF 1456 is available online. (I posted info on the broadband grant recommendation earlier.)

The wireless equipment collocation legislation has been a hard fought negotiation between wireless providers and local government (League of MN Cities). It looks like a lot of compromise. I don’t see a number listed for application fees – only restrictions on what the cost can (and cannot) cover. This must address concerns of local government that each location is different – and therefore costs are different. There are specific costs listed for recurring fee; I assume that provides some certainty to the providers, which makes it easier for them to plan.

I see provisions for buffering homes from unwanted equipment in the front yard. I see room for some advance warning of maintenance. I see parameters on response to applications and re-applications. I wish there was an archive of the meeting last night. I would have liked to see this presented – but midnight is too late for me for a meeting originally scheduled for noon. That’s tough work for all involved.

Here’s the info on small cell wireless equipment collocation

154.4ARTICLE 9

154.5TELECOMMUNICATIONS

154.6    Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, subdivision 2, is amended to read: 154.7    Subd. 2. Local government unit. “Local government unit” means a county, home rule 154.8charter or statutory city, or town, or the Metropolitan Council. 154.9EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 154.10    Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, subdivision 4, is amended to read: 154.11    Subd. 4. Telecommunications right-of-way user.(a) “Telecommunications right-of-way 154.12user” means a person owning or controlling a facility in the public right-of-way, or seeking 154.13to own or control a facility in the public right-of-way, that is used or is intended to be used 154.14for providing wireless service, or transporting telecommunications or other voice or data 154.15information. 154.16(b) A cable communication system defined and regulated under chapter 238, and 154.17telecommunications activities related to providing natural gas or electric energy services 154.18whether provided by, a public utility as defined in section 216B.02, a municipality, a 154.19municipal gas or power agency organized under chapter 453 or 453A, or a cooperative 154.20electric association organized under chapter 308A, are not telecommunications right-of-way 154.21users for the purposes of this section and section 237.163, except to the extent these entities 154.22are offering wireless services. 154.23EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 154.24    Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, subdivision 9, is amended to read: 154.25    Subd. 9. Management costs or rights-of-way management costs.(a) “Management 154.26costs” or “rights-of-way management costs” means the actual costs a local government unit 154.27incurs in managing its public rights-of-way, and includes such costs, if incurred, as those 154.28associated with registering applicants; issuing, processing, and verifying right-of-way or 154.29small wireless facility permit applications; inspecting job sites and restoration projects; 154.30maintaining, supporting, protecting, or moving user equipment during public right-of-way 155.1work; determining the adequacy of right-of-way restoration; restoring work inadequately 155.2performed after providing notice and the opportunity to correct the work; and revoking 155.3right-of-way or small wireless facility permits. 155.4(b) Management costs do not include: 155.5(1) payment by a telecommunications right-of-way user for the use of the public 155.6right-of-way,; 155.7(2) unreasonable fees of a third-party contractor used by a local government unit as part 155.8of managing its public rights-of-way, including but not limited to any third-party contractor 155.9fee tied to or based upon customer counts, access lines, revenue generated by the 155.10telecommunications right-of-way user, or revenue generated for a local government unit; 155.11or 155.12(3) the fees and cost of litigation relating to the interpretation of this section or section 155.13237.163 or any ordinance enacted under those sections, or the local unit of government’s 155.14fees and costs related to appeals taken pursuant to section 237.163, subdivision 5. 155.15EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 155.16    Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 155.17read: 155.18    Subd. 10.Collocate.“Collocate” or “collocation” means to install, mount, maintain, 155.19modify, operate, or replace a small wireless facility on, under, within, or adjacent to an 155.20existing wireless support structure that is owned privately or by a local government unit. 155.21EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 155.22    Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 155.23read: 155.24    Subd. 11.Small wireless facility.“Small wireless facility” means: 155.25(1) a wireless facility that meets both of the following qualifications: 155.26(i) each antenna is located inside an enclosure of no more than six cubic feet in volume 155.27or, in the case of an antenna that has exposed elements, the antenna and all its exposed 155.28elements could fit within an enclosure of no more than six cubic feet; and 155.29(ii) all other wireless equipment associated with the small wireless facility, excluding 155.30electric meters, concealment elements, telecommunications demarcation boxes, battery 155.31backup power systems, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, cutoff switches, 156.1cable, conduit, vertical cable runs for the connection of power and other services, and any 156.2equipment concealed from public view within or behind an existing structure or concealment, 156.3is in aggregate no more than 28 cubic feet in volume; or 156.4(2) a micro wireless facility. 156.5EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 156.6    Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 156.7read: 156.8    Subd. 12.Utility pole.“Utility pole” means a pole that is used in whole or in part to 156.9facilitate telecommunications or electric service. 156.10EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 156.11    Sec. 7. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 156.12read: 156.13    Subd. 13.Wireless facility.(a) “Wireless facility” means equipment at a fixed location 156.14that enables the provision of wireless services between user equipment and a wireless service 156.15network, including: 156.16(1) equipment associated with wireless service; 156.17(2) a radio transceiver, antenna, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, regular and backup power 156.18supplies, and comparable equipment, regardless of technological configuration; and 156.19(3) a small wireless facility. 156.20(b) “Wireless facility” does not include: 156.21(1) wireless support structures; 156.22(2) wireline backhaul facilities; or 156.23(3) coaxial or fiber-optic cables (i) between utility poles or wireless support structures, 156.24or (ii) that are not otherwise immediately adjacent to or directly associated with a specific 156.25antenna. 156.26EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 157.1    Sec. 8. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 157.2read: 157.3    Subd. 14.Micro wireless facility.“Micro wireless facility” means a small wireless 157.4facility that is no larger than 24 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 12 inches high, and whose 157.5exterior antenna, if any, is no longer than 11 inches. 157.6EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 157.7    Sec. 9. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision to 157.8read: 157.9    Subd. 15.Wireless service.“Wireless service” means any service using licensed or 157.10unlicensed wireless spectrum, including the use of Wi-Fi, whether at a fixed location or by 157.11means of a mobile device, that is provided using wireless facilities. Wireless service does 157.12not include services regulated under Title VI of the Communications Act of 1934, as 157.13amended, including a cable service under United States Code, title 47, section 522, clause 157.14(6). 157.15EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 157.16    Sec. 10. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision 157.17to read: 157.18    Subd. 16.Wireless support structure.“Wireless support structure” means a new or 157.19existing structure in a public right-of-way designed to support or capable of supporting 157.20small wireless facilities, as reasonably determined by a local government unit. 157.21EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 157.22    Sec. 11. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.162, is amended by adding a subdivision 157.23to read: 157.24    Subd. 17.Wireline backhaul facility.“Wireline backhaul facility” means a facility 157.25used to transport communications data by wire from a wireless facility to a communications 157.26network. 157.27EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 157.28    Sec. 12. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, subdivision 2, is amended to read: 157.29    Subd. 2. Generally. (a) Subject to this section, a telecommunications right-of-way user 157.30authorized to do business under the laws of this state or by license of the Federal 158.1Communications Commission may construct, maintain, and operate small wireless facilities, 158.2conduit, cable, switches, and related appurtenances and facilities along, across, upon, above, 158.3and under any public right-of-way. 158.4(b) Subject to this section, a local government unit has the authority to manage its public 158.5rights-of-way and to recover its rights-of-way management costs. Except as provided in 158.6subdivisions 3a, 3b, and 3c, the authority defined in this section may be exercised at the 158.7option of the local government unit. The exercise of this authority and is not mandated under 158.8this section. A local government unit may, by ordinance: 158.9(1) require a telecommunications right-of-way user seeking to excavate or obstruct a 158.10public right-of-way for the purpose of providing telecommunications services to obtain a 158.11right-of-way permit to do so and to impose permit conditions consistent with the local 158.12government unit’s management of the right-of-way; 158.13(2) require a telecommunications right-of-way user using, occupying, or seeking to use 158.14or occupy a public right-of-way for the purpose of providing telecommunications services 158.15to register with the local government unit by providing the local government unit with the 158.16following information: 158.17(i) the applicant’s name, gopher state one-call registration number under section 216D.03, 158.18address, and telephone and facsimile numbers; 158.19(ii) the name, address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the applicant’s local 158.20representative; 158.21(iii) proof of adequate insurance; and 158.22(iv) other information deemed reasonably necessary by the local government unit for 158.23the efficient administration of the public right-of-way; and 158.24(3) require telecommunications right-of-way users to submit to the local government 158.25unit plans for construction and major maintenance that provide reasonable notice to the 158.26local government unit of projects that the telecommunications right-of-way user expects to 158.27undertake that may require excavation and obstruction of public rights-of-way. 158.28(c) A local government unit may also require a telecommunications right-of-way user 158.29that is registered with the local government unit pursuant to paragraph (b), clause (2), to 158.30periodically update the information in its registration application. 158.31(d) Notwithstanding sections 394.34 and 462.355, or any other law, a local government 158.32unit must not establish a moratorium with respect to: 159.1(1) filing, receiving, or processing applications for right-of-way or small wireless facility 159.2permits; or 159.3(2) issuing or approving right-of-way or small wireless facility permits. 159.4(e) A telecommunications right-of-way user may place a new wireless support structure 159.5or collocate small wireless facilities on wireless support structures located within a public 159.6right-of-way, subject to the approval procedures under this section and, for collocation on 159.7wireless support structures owned by a local government unit, the reasonable terms, 159.8conditions, and rates set forth under this section. A local government unit may prohibit, 159.9regulate, or charge a fee to install wireless support structures or to collocate small wireless 159.10facilities only as provided in this section. 159.11(f) The placement of small wireless facilities and wireless support structures to 159.12accommodate small wireless facilities are a permitted use in a public right-of-way, except 159.13that a local government unit may require a person to obtain a special or conditional land 159.14use permit to install a new wireless support structure for the siting of a small wireless facility 159.15in a right-of-way in a district or area zoned for single-family residential use or within a 159.16historic district established by federal or state law or city ordinance as of the date of 159.17application for a small wireless facility permit. This paragraph does not apply to areas 159.18outside a public right-of-way that are zoned and used exclusively for single-family residential 159.19use. 159.20EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment, except 159.21that paragraph (d) is effective January 1, 2018, for a local government unit that has not 159.22enacted an ordinance regulating public rights-of-way as of May 18, 2017. 159.23    Sec. 13. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, is amended by adding a subdivision 159.24to read: 159.25    Subd. 3a.Small wireless facility permits; general.(a) A local government unit: 159.26(1) may require a telecommunications right-of-way user to obtain a permit or permits 159.27under this section to place a new wireless support structure or collocate a small wireless 159.28facility in a public right-of-way managed by the local government unit; 159.29(2) must not require an applicant for a small wireless facility permit to provide any 159.30information that: 159.31(i) has previously been provided to the local government unit by the applicant in an 159.32application for a small wireless permit, which specific reference shall be provided to the 159.33local government unit by the applicant; and 160.1(ii) is not reasonably necessary to review a permit application for compliance with 160.2generally applicable and reasonable health, safety, and welfare regulations, and to 160.3demonstrate compliance with applicable Federal Communications Commission regulations 160.4governing radio frequency exposure, or other information required by this section; 160.5(3) must ensure that any application for a small wireless facility permit is processed on 160.6a nondiscriminatory basis; and 160.7(4) must specify that the term of a small wireless facility permit is equal to the length 160.8of time that the small wireless facility is in use, unless the permit is revoked under this 160.9section. 160.10(b) An applicant may file a consolidated permit application to collocate up to 15 small 160.11wireless facilities, or a greater number if agreed to by a local government unit, provided 160.12that all the small wireless facilities in the application: 160.13(1) are located within a two-mile radius; 160.14(2) consist of substantially similar equipment; and 160.15(3) are to be placed on similar types of wireless support structures. 160.16In rendering a decision on a consolidated permit application, a local government unit may 160.17approve a permit for some small wireless facilities and deny a permit for others, but may 160.18not use denial of one or more permits as a basis to deny all the small wireless facilities in 160.19the application. 160.20(c) If a local government unit receives applications within a single seven-day period 160.21from one or more applicants seeking approval of permits for more than 30 small wireless 160.22facilities, the local government unit may extend the 90-day deadline imposed in subdivision 160.233c by an additional 30 days. If a local government unit elects to invoke this extension, it 160.24must inform in writing any applicant to whom the extension will be applied. 160.25(d) A local government unit is prohibited from requiring a person to pay a small wireless 160.26facility permit fee, obtain a small wireless facility permit, or enter into a small wireless 160.27facility collocation agreement solely in order to conduct any of the following activities: 160.28(1) routine maintenance of a small wireless facility; 160.29(2) replacement of a small wireless facility with a new facility that is substantially similar 160.30or smaller in size, weight, height, and wind or structural loading than the small wireless 160.31facility being replaced; or 161.1(3) installation, placement, maintenance, operation, or replacement of micro wireless 161.2facilities that are suspended on cables strung between existing utility poles in compliance 161.3with national safety codes. 161.4A local government unit may require advance notification of these activities if the work 161.5will obstruct a public right-of-way. 161.6(e) Nothing in this subdivision affects the need for an entity seeking to place a small 161.7wireless facility on a wireless support structure that is not owned by a local government 161.8unit to obtain from the owner of the wireless support structure any necessary authority to 161.9place the small wireless facility, nor shall any provision of this chapter be deemed to affect 161.10the rates, terms, and conditions for access to or placement of a small wireless facility or a 161.11wireless support structure not owned by a local government unit. This subdivision does not 161.12affect any existing agreement between a local government unit and an entity concerning 161.13the placement of small wireless facilities on local government unit-owned wireless support 161.14structures. 161.15(f) No later than six months after the effective date of this act or three months after 161.16receiving a small wireless facility permit application from a wireless service provider, a 161.17local government unit that has elected to set forth terms and conditions of collocation in a 161.18standard small wireless facility collocation agreement shall develop and make available an 161.19agreement that complies with the requirements of this section and section 237.162. A 161.20standard small wireless facility collocation agreement shall be substantially complete. 161.21Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the parties to a small wireless facility collocation 161.22agreement may incorporate additional terms and conditions mutually agreed upon into a 161.23small wireless facility collocation agreement. A small wireless facility collocation agreement 161.24between a local government unit and a wireless service provider is considered public data 161.25not on individuals and is accessible to the public under section 13.03. 161.26(g) An approval of a small wireless facility permit under this section authorizes the 161.27installation, placement, maintenance, or operation of a small wireless facility to provide 161.28wireless service and shall not be construed to confer authorization to (1) provide any service 161.29other than a wireless service, or (2) install, place, maintain, or operate a wireline backhaul 161.30facility in the right-of-way. 161.31(h) The terms and conditions of collocation under this subdivision: 161.32(1) may be set forth in a small wireless facility collocation agreement, if a local 161.33government unit elects to utilize such an agreement; 161.34(2) must be nondiscriminatory, competitively neutral, and commercially reasonable; and 162.1(3) must comply with this section and section 237.162. 162.2EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 162.3    Sec. 14. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, is amended by adding a subdivision 162.4to read: 162.5    Subd. 3b.Small wireless facility permits; placement.(a) A local government unit may 162.6not require the placement of small wireless facilities on any specific wireless support structure 162.7other than the wireless support structure proposed in the permit application. 162.8(b) A local government unit must not limit the placement of small wireless facilities, 162.9either by minimum separation distances between small wireless facilities or maximum 162.10height limitations, except that each wireless support structure installed in the right-of-way 162.11after the effective date of this act shall not exceed 50 feet above ground level, unless the 162.12local government unit agrees to a greater height, subject to local zoning regulations, and 162.13may be subject to separation requirements in relation to other wireless support structures. 162.14(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), a wireless support structure that replaces an existing 162.15wireless support structure that is higher than 50 feet above ground level may be placed at 162.16the height of the existing wireless support structure, unless the local government unit agrees 162.17to a greater height, subject to local zoning regulations. 162.18(d) Wireless facilities constructed in the right-of-way after the effective date of this act 162.19may not extend more than ten feet above an existing wireless support structure in place as 162.20of the effective date of this act. 162.21EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 162.22    Sec. 15. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, is amended by adding a subdivision 162.23to read: 162.24    Subd. 3c.Small wireless facility permits; approval.(a) Except as provided in 162.25subdivision 4, a local government unit shall issue a small wireless facility permit to a 162.26telecommunications right-of-way user seeking to install a new or replacement wireless 162.27support structure for a small wireless facility, or to collocate a small wireless facility on a 162.28wireless support structure in a public right-of-way. In processing and approving a small 162.29wireless facility permit, a local government unit may condition its approval on compliance 162.30with: 162.31(1) generally applicable and reasonable health, safety, and welfare regulations consistent 162.32with the local government unit’s public right-of-way management; 163.1(2) reasonable accommodations for decorative wireless support structures or signs; and 163.2(3) any reasonable restocking, replacement, or relocation requirements when a new 163.3wireless support structure is placed in a public right-of-way. 163.4(b) A local government unit has 90 days after the date a small wireless facility permit 163.5application is filed to issue or deny the permit, or the permit is automatically issued. To toll 163.6the 90-day clock, the local government unit must provide a written notice of incompleteness 163.7to the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application, clearly and specifically 163.8delineating all missing documents or information. Information delineated in the notice is 163.9limited to documents or information publicly required as of the date of application and 163.10reasonably related to a local government unit’s determination whether the proposed equipment 163.11falls within the definition of a small wireless facility and whether the proposed deployment 163.12satisfies all health, safety, and welfare regulations applicable to the small wireless facility 163.13permit request. Upon an applicant’s submittal of additional documents or information in 163.14response to a notice of incompleteness, the local government unit has ten days to notify the 163.15applicant in writing of any information requested in the initial notice of incompleteness that 163.16is still missing. Second or subsequent notices of incompleteness may not specify documents 163.17or information that were not delineated in the original notice of incompleteness. Requests 163.18for information not requested in the initial notice of incompleteness do not toll the 90-day 163.19clock. Parties can mutually agree in writing to toll the 90-day clock at any time. Section 163.2015.99 does not apply to this paragraph or paragraph (c). 163.21For the purposes of this subdivision, “toll the 90-day clock” means to halt the progression 163.22of days that count towards the 90-day deadline. 163.23(c) Except as provided in subdivision 3a, paragraph (c), a small wireless facility permit 163.24and any associated encroachment or building permit required by a local government unit, 163.25are deemed approved if the local government unit fails to approve or deny the application 163.26within 90 days after the permit application has been filed, unless the applicant and the local 163.27government unit have mutually agreed in writing to extend the 90-day deadline. 163.28(d) Nothing in this subdivision precludes a local government unit from applying generally 163.29applicable and reasonable health, safety, and welfare regulations when evaluating and 163.30deciding to approve or deny a small wireless facility permit. 163.31EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 164.1    Sec. 16. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, subdivision 4, is amended to read: 164.2    Subd. 4. Permit denial or revocation. (a) A local government unit may deny any 164.3application for a right-of-way or small wireless facility permit if the telecommunications 164.4right-of-way user does not comply with a provision of this section. 164.5(b) A local government unit may deny an application for a right-of-way permit if the 164.6local government unit determines that the denial is necessary to protect the health, safety, 164.7and welfare or when necessary to protect the public right-of-way and its current use. 164.8(c) A local government unit may revoke a right-of-way or small wireless facility permit 164.9granted to a telecommunications right-of-way user, with or without fee refund, in the event 164.10of a substantial breach of the terms and conditions of statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation 164.11or any material condition of the permit. A substantial breach by a permittee includes, but 164.12is not limited to, the following: 164.13(1) a material violation of a provision of the right-of-way or small wireless facility 164.14permit; 164.15(2) an evasion or attempt to evade any material provision of the right-of-way or small 164.16wireless facility permit, or the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate any fraud or deceit upon 164.17the local government unit or its citizens; 164.18(3) a material misrepresentation of fact in the right-of-way or small wireless facility 164.19permit application; 164.20(4) a failure to complete work in a timely manner, unless a permit extension is obtained 164.21or unless the failure to complete work is due to reasons beyond the permittee’s control; and 164.22(5) a failure to correct, in a timely manner, work that does not conform to applicable 164.23standards, conditions, or codes, upon inspection and notification by the local government 164.24unit of the faulty condition. 164.25(d) Subject to this subdivision, a local government unit may not deny an application for 164.26a right-of-way or small wireless facility permit for failure to include a project in a plan 164.27submitted to the local government unit under subdivision 2, paragraph (b), clause (3), when 164.28the telecommunications right-of-way user has used commercially reasonable efforts to 164.29anticipate and plan for the project. 164.30(e) In no event may a local government unit unreasonably withhold approval of an 164.31application for a right-of-way or small wireless facility permit, or unreasonably revoke a 164.32permit. 165.1(f) Any denial or revocation of a right-of-way or small wireless facility permit must be 165.2made in writing and must document the basis for the denial. The local government unit must 165.3notify the telecommunications right-of-way user in writing within three business days of 165.4the decision to deny or revoke a permit. If a permit application is denied, the 165.5telecommunications right-of-way user may cure the deficiencies identified by the local 165.6government unit and resubmit its application. If the telecommunications right-of-way user 165.7resubmits the application within 30 days of receiving written notice of the denial, it may 165.8not be charged an additional filing or processing fee. The local government unit must approve 165.9or deny the revised application within 30 days after the revised application is submitted. 165.10EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 165.11    Sec. 17. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, subdivision 6, is amended to read: 165.12    Subd. 6. Fees. (a) A local government unit may recover its right-of-way management 165.13costs by imposing a fee for registration, a fee for each right-of-way or small wireless facility 165.14permit, or, when appropriate, a fee applicable to a particular telecommunications right-of-way 165.15user when that user causes the local government unit to incur costs as a result of actions or 165.16inactions of that user. A local government unit may not recover costs from a 165.17telecommunications right-of-way user costs or an owner of a cable communications system 165.18awarded a franchise under chapter 238 caused by another entity’s activity in the right-of-way. 165.19(b) Fees, or other right-of-way obligations, imposed by a local government unit on 165.20telecommunications right-of-way users under this section must be: 165.21(1) based on the actual costs incurred by the local government unit in managing the 165.22public right-of-way; 165.23(2) based on an allocation among all users of the public right-of-way, including the local 165.24government unit itself, which shall reflect the proportionate costs imposed on the local 165.25government unit by each of the various types of uses of the public rights-of-way; 165.26(3) imposed on a competitively neutral basis; and 165.27(4) imposed in a manner so that aboveground uses of public rights-of-way do not bear 165.28costs incurred by the local government unit to regulate underground uses of public 165.29rights-of-way. 165.30(c) The rights, duties, and obligations regarding the use of the public right-of-way 165.31imposed under this section must be applied to all users of the public right-of-way, including 165.32the local government unit while recognizing regulation must reflect the distinct engineering, 165.33construction, operation, maintenance and public and worker safety requirements, and 166.1standards applicable to various users of the public rights-of-way. For users subject to the 166.2franchising authority of a local government unit, to the extent those rights, duties, and 166.3obligations are addressed in the terms of an applicable franchise agreement, the terms of 166.4the franchise shall prevail over any conflicting provision in an ordinance. 166.5(d) A wireless service provider may collocate small wireless facilities on wireless support 166.6structures owned or controlled by a local government unit and located within the public 166.7roads or rights-of-way without being required to apply for or enter into any individual 166.8license, franchise, or other agreement with the local government unit or any other entity, 166.9other than a standard small wireless facility collocation agreement under subdivision 3a, 166.10paragraph (f), if the local unit of government elects to utilize such an agreement. 166.11(e) Any initial engineering survey and preparatory construction work associated with 166.12collocation must be paid by the cost causer in the form of a onetime, nonrecurring, 166.13commercially reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and competitively neutral charge to recover 166.14the costs associated with a proposed attachment. 166.15(f) Total application fees for a small wireless facility permit must comply with this 166.16subdivision with respect to costs related to the permit. 166.17(g) A local government unit may elect to charge each small wireless facility attached to 166.18a wireless support structure owned by the local government unit a fee, in addition to other 166.19fees or charges allowed under this subdivision, consisting of: 166.20(1) up to $150 per year for rent to occupy space on a wireless support structure; 166.21(2) up to $25 per year for maintenance associated with the space occupied on a wireless 166.22support structure; and 166.23(3) a monthly fee for electricity used to operate a small wireless facility, if not purchased 166.24directly from a utility, at the rate of: 166.25(i) $73 per radio node less than or equal to 100 max watts; 166.26(ii) $182 per radio node over 100 max watts; or 166.27(iii) the actual costs of electricity, if the actual costs exceed the amount in item (i) or 166.28(ii). 166.29EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 167.1    Sec. 18. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, subdivision 7, is amended to read: 167.2    Subd. 7. Additional right-of-way provisions. (a) In managing the public rights-of-way 167.3and in imposing fees under this section, no local government unit may: 167.4(1) unlawfully discriminate among telecommunications right-of-way users; 167.5(2) grant a preference to any telecommunications right-of-way user; 167.6(3) create or erect any unreasonable requirement for entry to the public rights-of-way 167.7by telecommunications right-of-way users; or 167.8(4) require a telecommunications right-of-way user to obtain a franchise or pay for the 167.9use of the right-of-way. 167.10(b) A telecommunications right-of-way user need not apply for or obtain right-of-way 167.11permits for facilities that are located in public rights-of-way on May 10, 1997, for which 167.12the user has obtained the required consent of the local government unit, or that are otherwise 167.13lawfully occupying the public right-of-way. However, the telecommunications right-of-way 167.14user may be required to register and to obtain a right-of-way permit for an excavation or 167.15obstruction of existing facilities within the public right-of-way after May 10, 1997. 167.16(c) Data and documents exchanged between a local government unit and a 167.17telecommunications right-of-way user are subject to the terms of chapter 13. A local 167.18government unit not complying with this paragraph is subject to the penalties set forth in 167.19section 13.08. 167.20(d) A local government unit may not collect a fee imposed under this section through 167.21the provision of in-kind services by a telecommunications right-of-way user, nor may a 167.22local government unit require the provision of in-kind services as a condition of consent to 167.23use the local government unit’s public right-of-way or to obtain a small wireless facility 167.24permit. 167.25(e) Except as provided in this chapter or required by federal law, a local government 167.26unit shall not adopt or enforce any regulation on the placement or operation of 167.27communications facilities in the right-of-way where the entity is already authorized to 167.28operate in the right-of-way, and shall not regulate or impose or collect fees on 167.29communications services except to the extent specifically provided for in the existing 167.30authorization, and unless expressly required by state or federal statute. 168.1    Sec. 19. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, is amended by adding a subdivision 168.2to read: 168.3    Subd. 9.Authorized contractors.(a) Nothing in this section precludes a 168.4telecommunications right-of-way user from authorizing another entity or individual to act 168.5on its behalf to install, construct, maintain, or repair a facility or facilities owned or controlled 168.6by the telecommunications right-of-way user. 168.7(b) A local government unit is prohibited from imposing fees or requirements on an 168.8authorized entity or individual for actions on behalf of a telecommunications right-of-way 168.9user that are in addition to or different from the fees and requirements it is authorized to 168.10impose on the telecommunications right-of-way user under this section. 168.11EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment. 168.12    Sec. 20. Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 237.163, is amended by adding a subdivision 168.13to read: 168.14    Subd. 10.Exemptions.(a) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, this 168.15section does not apply to a wireless support structure owned, operated, maintained, or served 168.16by a municipal electric utility. 168.17(b) Subdivisions 3a, 3b, 3c, and subdivision 6, paragraphs (d) through (g), and subdivision 168.187, paragraph (e), do not apply to the collocation or regulation of small wireless facilities 168.19issued a permit by a local government unit before the effective date of this act under an 168.20ordinance enacted before May 18, 2017, that regulates the collocation of small wireless 168.21facilities. 168.22EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

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