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Getting to 5G

State Legislative Help:  Getting to 5G

By:  Jeffery B. King, J.D.

Currently, anyone wishing to build a wireless tower in any city around the state of Texas can easily project the costs, timelines, and approvals needed to do so.  However, every small cell network deployment is hindered by unforeseen fees, inconsistent jurisdictional interpretations of code, and arbitrary approval processes.

State Bill 1004 was filed on February 22nd by Senator Hancock.  This bill seeks to standardize the fees, access, and regulation of wireless equipment in the public ROW.  Crown Castle and Extenet currently have complaints filed at the Texas PUC against the City of Dallas and the City of Houston over those jurisdictions’ interpretations of Chapter 283 of the Texas Local Government Code dealing with what fees could be charged and what limitations/requirements could be imposed.  SB 1004 would add a Chapter 284 to the Texas Local Government Code and address some of those concerns such as:

  1. Limits on fees that can be charged
  2. Limits on size of equipment on poles
  3. Limits on size of ground equipment in ROW
  4. Limits on height of equipment on poles
  5. Limits on land use requirements

Note:  The above list is approx. only 30% of the items covered in the proposed bill.

Supporters of the bill are eager to see comments and minimal revisions on this proposal in the next 1-2 months so that Texas can move forward as a leader on this issue.  The Texas 85th Legislature lasts from January 10th to May 29th of 2017.  The next session wouldn’t begin until Jan 8th of 2019.