HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee City Council held the first reading of a “Small Cell Ordinance” Sept. 3, gaining unanimous approval. On April 26, Governor Brian Kemp signed into law the Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act. The law is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.
The legislature is designed to make it simplier for wireless broadband antennas to be installed along public right-of-ways. The law requires wireless companies to seek approval from cities before being allowed to affiix them. The act is designed to help pave the way for the implementation of 5G wireless communication networks in the future. Additional antennas will be necessary to transmit the amount of data that a network will require. According to the wireless organization Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, these transmitters will also capable of supporting mid-band and high-band spectrum frequencies, in addition to the more traditional low-band spectrum frequencies. As mid- and high-band waves cannot travel as far as low-band waves, a need will arise to place the antennas more densely than the large towers currently forming the backbone of wireless networks.
“Over the last few years, the wireless industry has actively pursued state legislation enacted to constrain the broad authority of local governments over the deployment of wireless small cell equipment in public right-of-way,” National Law Review explains. “These state laws usually limit the authority of local governments to decide where wireless small cell equipment can be installed in the right-of-way; limit the time for action on applications to install small cell equipment; and limit the amounts that can be charged for applications and use of the right-of-way,”
The second reading and adoption of the Small Cell Ordinance, along with a second reading of an UNITI Registration Ordinance which also deals with the city right-of-ways, is expected prior to Oct. 1.
Feature Image: (L-R) Hiawassee City Council members Patsy Owens, Nancy Noblet, Amy Barrett, Kris Berrong, and Anne Mitchell.