The FCC Order pertaining to small cells that was approved in September 2018 goes into effect today, January 14. A lawsuit has been filed by a coalition of local governments that challenges the legality of various provisions of the Order. Included in the lawsuit was a motion to “stay,” or delay the date the Order goes into effect. Although the motion to stay was denied by the court late last week, this ruling does not have any effect on the potential outcome of the lawsuit, which will proceed.
If you have not already, now is the time to consider creating aesthetic design standards that can help a municipality tailor how small cells look and to some extent preferences on where they can be placed. These standards need to be published prior to the receipt of an application in order to use them to judge an application. Here is a good example of a small cell ordinance and a set of aesthetic design standards from Worthington, Ohio.
What this means…Two Major Changes
New shot clocks to process an application are in effect: 60 days for an application to collocate small cell infrastructure on an existing pole, and 90 days for an application to place small cell infrastructure on a new pole.
Fees are limited to cost recovery. In the FCC’s interpretation, fees associated with small cell deployment must be a reasonable approximation of government cost and non-discriminatory. The FCC stated that the rates listed below would be considered within those parameters:
(a) $500 for non-recurring fees, including a single up-front application that includes up to five Small Wireless Facilities, with an additional $100 for each Small Wireless Facility beyond five, or $1,000 for non-recurring fees for a new pole (i.e., not a collocation) intended to support one or more Small Wireless Facilities; and
(b) $270 per Small Wireless Facility per year for all recurring fees, including any possible ROW access fee or fee for attachment to municipally-owned structures in the ROW.
In addition, if you have a small cell ordinance in place, it may need to be updated to conform with the FCC Order.
For more information contact Bill Jorch, (410) 295-9100, firstname.lastname@example.org