Road to 5G: Gov. Wolf signs small cell wireless legislation

Regional News

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that establishes the process to spur 5G infrastructure deployment.

The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, or H.B. 1621, sets a statewide process to deploy small cell nodes, the infrastructure required to support 5G, according to PA Partnership for 5G’s press release.

The bill establishes an application fee that allows municipalities to cover their costs relative to the processing of applications, provides municipalities a reasonable amount of time to review applications, and requires infrastructure providers to consider the aesthetic of a neighborhood in their design.

“The passage of [Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act] cements Pennsylvania’s reputation as an innovative leader and positions the state to secure funds from the $275 billion in private capital available to build 5G networks across the country,” Ashley Henry Shook, spokesperson for the PA Partnership for 5G, said.

“The ability to have reliable wireless access is fundamental to the health and economic vitality of every community, household and business.”

According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, 5G deployment in a community like Philadelphia, for example, may create over 14,700 jobs and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $1.3 billion.

Over the past four years, it’s reported that wireless carriers, policymakers, infrastructure providers, municipal organizations and labor have collaborated to create a bill that balances municipal concerns with industry considerations.

H.B. 1621 allows municipalities to continue to control the right of way, the release said. Namely, it only regulates wireless facilities at a certain height and allows municipalities to maintain local zoning control when wireless facilities exceed predetermined heights.

The bill also provides protections for historic districts and requires a provider to demonstrate that it cannot collocate on an existing structure before placing a new structure.

Pennsylvania is now the 32nd state in the country to this type of legislation. It passed the House by a vote of 198-3 and 50-0 in the Senate.

For more information regarding 5G, visit PA Partnership for 5G’s website. You can also visit their Facebook for the latest 5G updates.

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