Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2021 Legislation

Heather Morton 8/26/2021

Mobile phone with 5G on screen and app symbols

Mobile fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems are the next upgrade of wireless technology, offering faster speeds, greater capacity and better reliability.

To deploy this technology, new infrastructure, called small cells, must be used. Small cells generate less power, collect and transmit signals in a short range from one another and require collocating the cells on other infrastructure. Small cell wireless facility deployment requires streamlined federal, state and local permitting, rights of way, application timelines and other siting and application fees, and application review timelines and appeals processes to make it economically feasible for wireless companies to deploy the technology across communities.

More than 30 state legislatures have enacted small cell legislation that streamlines regulations to facilitate the deployment of 5G small cells.

These laws take into consideration the unique circumstances of their state and local environment, but baseline principles can be established and are consistent with wireless industry standards, including:

  • Streamlined applications to access public rights of way.
  • Caps on costs and fees.
  • Streamlined timelines for the consideration and processing of cell siting applications.

Fourteen states have pending mobile 5G and small cell-related legislation in the 2021 legislative session. Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania enacted legislation.

 

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

 

 

Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2021 Legislation

State:

Bill Number:

Bill Summary:

Alabama

HB 251
Indefinitely postponed 2/11/21

This bill establishes a procedure by which wireless providers would be authorized to collocate, mount, or install small wireless facilities on existing poles, or install new poles on the right-of-way of the state or any agency, county, or municipality thereof. This bill exempts small wireless facilities from certain zoning review and approval procedures. This bill establishes a procedure for the permitting of the development of small wireless facilities and poles in the rights-of-way of the state. This bill establishes rates and fees for all permits for small wireless facilities.

Alabama

SB 76
Signed by governor 2/19/21, Act 5

Establishes a procedure to authorize wireless providers to collocate, mount, or install small wireless facilities on existing poles, or install new poles on the right-of-way of the state or any agency, county, or municipality thereof; exempts small wireless facilities from certain zoning review and approval procedures; to establish a procedure for the permitting of the development of small wireless facilities and poles in the rights-of-way of the state; and establishes rates and fees for all permits for small wireless facilities.

Alaska

None

 

Arizona

HB 2108

Prohibits a political subdivision from requiring a telecommunications corporation to pay an annual fee for underground facilities that are used for a small wireless facility. Makes technical changes.

Arizona

HB 2872

Establishes the 4G and 5G cellular tower study committee.

Arkansas

None

 

California

SB 556
Passed Senate 5/13/21

This bill prohibits a local government or local publicly owned electric utility from unreasonably denying the leasing or licensing of its street light poles or traffic signal poles to communications service providers for the purpose of placing small wireless facilities on those poles. The bill requires that street light poles and traffic signal poles be made available for the placement of small wireless facilities under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory fees, as provided. The bill authorizes a local government or local publicly owned electric utility to condition access to its street light poles or traffic signal poles on reasonable terms and conditions, including reasonable aesthetic and safety standards. The bill specifies time periods for various actions relative to requests for placement of a small wireless facility by a communications service provider on a street light pole or traffic signal pole. The bill authorizes a local publicly owned electric utility or local government to deny an application for use of a street light pole or traffic signal pole, as applicable, because of insufficient capacity or safety, reliability, or engineering concerns subject to certain conditions.

Colorado

None

 

Connecticut

HB 5254
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Requires that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority initiate a docket and adopt regulations to amend the process of attaching equipment to public utility poles, including 5G mobile telephone wiring and fiber wires for high-speed broadband internet infrastructure.

Connecticut

HB 6361
Failed Joint Favorable deadline 3/25/21

Provides that, with regard to small cell installation within a municipality, such municipality shall (1) conduct the siting for such installation, (2) allow the Connecticut Siting Council to conduct such siting, or (3) conduct such siting in conjunction with said council, but may override any decision of said council relating to such siting only if the municipality demonstrates that the reason for such override is based on persuasive and reliable environmental information.

Delaware

None

 

District of Columbia

None

 

Florida

HB 6045
Died in committee 4/30/21

Deletes provisions limiting authority of, and prohibiting, municipalities and counties from functions related to communications service providers; deletes references to, and administration and provisions of Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act.

Georgia

None

 

Guam

None

 

Hawaii

HCR 157
HR 133
SCR 256
SR 215

Requests the legislative reference bureau to compile and synthesize research studies examining all potential health impacts of radio frequency radiation, including fifth-generation cellular networks.

Hawaii

SB 851

Clarifies that certain small wireless facilities and associated modified or replaced utility poles shall be classified as permitted uses and shall not be subject to zoning review or zoning approval if they are deployed in an underserved area or unserved area. Defines "underserved area" and "unserved area".

Idaho

None

 

Illinois

HB 1738
Signed by governor 6/25/21, Public Act 102-21

Provides for the reenactment of the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act and makes findings concerning the earlier reenactment by Public Act 102-9.

Illinois

HB 2379
Passed House 4/23/21

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that the Act is repealed on Dec. 31, 2023 (currently, June 1, 2021).

Illinois

HB 2439

mends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that an authority may require a wireless provider to include documentation and certification that the small wireless facility and location meets all FCC standards and regulations at the wireless provider's sole cost and expense. Provides that an authority may require (currently, propose) that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 (currently, 100) feet of the proposed collocation, which the applicant shall accept if it has the right to use the alternate structure on reasonable terms and conditions and the alternate location and structure does not impose technical limits or additional significant costs (currently, additional material costs as determined by the applicant). Provides that an authority may require a wireless provider to comply with generally applicable standards, including acoustic regulations. Repeals a section that repeals the Act on June 1, 2021. Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that a municipality may require that a small wireless facility be collocated on any existing utility pole within its public rights-of-way and the entity owning the utility pole shall provide access for that purpose. Provides that any fee charged for the use of a utility pole under the section shall be at the lowest rate charged by the entity owning the utility pole and shall not exceed the entity's actual costs. Effective immediately, except for certain provisions.

Illinois

HB 2561

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. In provisions relating to the permit application process for an applicant to collocate a small wireless facility, allows an authority to require an applicant or site developer to provide probative evidence in the form of hard data recorded during a drive test performed by an independent radio-frequency engineer selected by the authority to support gap-in-coverage claims to establish (i) the existence of a real gap in the specific carrier's wireless coverage, (ii) the location of the gap, and (iii) the geographical boundaries of the gap.

Illinois

HB 2562

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not "substantially similar." Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance. Makes other changes.

Illinois

HB 2563

Creates the Local Control, Protection, and Empowering Law in the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that property owners may, by petition, require a hearing prior to an authority's approval or denial of the installation of a small wireless facility in an area zoned exclusively for residential purposes. Requires the petition to include 250 signatures of the property owners or 40% of the property owners, whichever is less, within 1,000 feet of where the small wireless facility would be installed. Includes other petition and hearing requirements. Provides that all findings and written comments of the authority as a result of the hearing must be forwarded to the office of the secretary of the Federal Communications Commission by the authority. Provides that a hearing shall not interfere with the requirement that an authority approve or deny an application within specified timeframes.

Illinois

HB 2564

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not "substantially similar." Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance. Makes other changes.

Illinois

HB 2565

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Adds a definition for "source of radio frequency emissions." Provides that permit information must be provided to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). Provides that an authority may require specified information concerning fiber optic cable. Provides that an authority or the IEPA may deny a permit if a provider has failed to provide sufficient evidence that an increase in emissions is needed. Removes a provision limiting an authority's jurisdiction over facilities located in an interior structure or upon the site of any campus, stadium, or athletic facility not otherwise owned or controlled by the authority. Adds provisions relating to trespass, preservation of private property, and federal defenses; compliance and recordkeeping; setbacks; and notice.

Illinois

SB 41

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not "substantially similar". Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance. Makes other changes.

Indiana

SB 222

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that an authority may require a wireless provider to include documentation and certification that the small wireless facility and location meets all FCC standards and regulations at the wireless provider's sole cost and expense. Provides that an authority may require (currently, propose) that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 (currently, 100) feet of the proposed collocation, which the applicant shall accept if it has the right to use the alternate structure on reasonable terms and conditions and the alternate location and structure does not impose technical limits or additional significant costs (currently, additional material costs as determined by the applicant). Provides that an authority may require a wireless provider to comply with generally applicable standards, including acoustic regulations. Repeals a section that repeals the Act on June 1, 2021. Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that a municipality may require that a small wireless facility be collocated on any existing utility pole within its public rights-of-way and the entity owning the utility pole shall provide access for that purpose. Provides that any fee charged for the use of a utility pole under the section shall be at the lowest rate charged by the entity owning the utility pole and shall not exceed the entity's actual costs. Effective immediately, except for certain provisions.

Illinois

SB 1731

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that the Act is repealed on Dec. 31, 2026 (currently, June 1, 2021).

Indiana

SB 225

Amends the statute concerning the issuance of permits by local permit authorities to communications service providers for the construction and installation of wireless facilities and wireless support structures (including small cell facilities) as follows: (1) Allows a neighborhood association, a homeowners association, or an individual resident of the area over which a permit authority has jurisdiction to register with the permit authority to receive mailed notice of any permit application filed with the permit authority. (Current law allows only neighborhood associations and homeowners associations to register to receive notice, and only with respect to applications for new utility poles or new wireless support structures used to support small cell facilities.) (2) Provides that upon receiving a permit application after June 30, 2021, a permit authority shall provide notice of the application on: (A) the permit authority's Internet web site; or (B) if the permit authority does not maintain an Internet web site, the Internet web site of each affected local unit with respect to which the permit authority has jurisdiction. (3) Specifies that a local unit or permit authority is not prohibited from adopting any ordinance or regulation that requires or regulates the placement of signs, markers, or other notices: (A) on or near any wireless support structures or wireless facilities; and (B) that include information, notice, or warnings concerning radio frequency fields or radiation associated with wireless facilities. (4) Subject to protections for certain information, requires: (A) permit authorities to submit information to the Indiana utility regulatory commission (IURC) concerning: (i) the location of each wireless facility or wireless support structure for which a permit has been approved; and (ii) the communications service provider for which the permit was approved; and (B) the IURC to publish on the IURC's Internet web site the information submitted. (5) With respect to an application for a permit to construct a new wireless support structure: (A) removes language allowing an applicant's decision not to collocate wireless facilities on an existing wireless support structure to be based on evidence that collocation would be an economic burden to the applicant; and (B) requires that certain other evidence that may serve as the basis for an applicant's decision against collocation be certified by a professional engineer. (6) Provides that with respect to an application for the placement of a small cell facility and the associated supporting structure at a location where a supporting structure does not exist, a permit authority may propose, as an alternative location, that the small cell facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or wireless support structure if the existing utility pole or wireless support structure is located within 100 feet (versus 50 feet under current law) of the applicant's proposed location. (7) Requires the applicant to use the permit authority's alternative location if that location will not result in technical limitations or significant additional costs, as certified by a professional engineer whose selection is agreed to by both parties. (Current law allows the applicant, rather than requires an independent professional engineer, to determine whether the permit authority's proposed alternative location will result in technical limitations or additional costs.) (8) With respect to an application concerning a small cell facility and an associated supporting structure, removes a provision that prohibits a permit authority from conditioning approval of the application on the applicant's agreement to allow other wireless facilities to be placed at, attached to, or located on the associated support structure. (9) Specifies that the statute does not prohibit a local unit or a permit authority from offering or approving tax incentives or other incentives for communications service providers that offer or agree to collocate a proposed wireless facility on an existing structure. (10) Urges the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on energy, utilities, and telecommunications the task of studying the impact on human health of radiation or radio frequency fields associated with wireless communications facilities.

Iowa

None

 

Kansas

None

 

Kentucky

None

 

Louisiana

None

 

Maine

LD 383

Amends the law regarding small wireless facilities in the state.

Maryland

None

 

Massachusetts

HB 110

Relates to halting 5G high frequencies and close proximity antennas.

Massachusetts

HB 124

Relates to the economic and regulatory impacts of fifth generation cellular mobile communications.

Massachusetts

SB 54

Relates to helping residents work remotely by improving internet service.

Michigan

None

 

Minnesota

SF 339

Modifies requirements for small wireless facilities; requires a study; appropriates money.

Mississippi

None

 

Missouri

None

 

Montana

None

 

Nebraska

None

 

Nevada

None

 

New Hampshire

None

 

New Jersey

AB 1114

Establishes “5G Network and Development Task Force.”

New Jersey

AB 1116
Passed Assembly 6/24/21
SB 2674

Provides for uniform regulation of small wireless facility deployment in this state.

New Jersey

AB 4065

This bill clarifies the application of the business personal property tax on local exchange telephone companies that were subject to the tax as of April 1, 1997.  This bill clarifies the changes made in 1997 to the business personal property tax that defined local exchange telephone companies that were subject to that tax as of April 1, 1997. The Tax Court in Verizon New Jersey Inc. v. Hopewell Borough, which was decided on June 26, 2012, has incorrectly construed the plain meaning of the language of the statutory change made in 1997. That statutory change was intended to grandfather into the local property tax base the business personal property of all incumbent local exchange companies that were then subject to that tax and were a telecommunications carrier then meeting the one-time definition, not an annual redefinition, of providing dial tone and access to 51% of a local telephone exchange.  Local exchange telephone companies have taken advantage of the incorrect interpretation of the statute and has informed 65 municipalities that it will no longer pay tax on its business personal property, such as equipment, utility poles, cables and more in any given municipality where it claims on an annual basis that it does not provide 51% or more of landline service to its residents. This unintended erosion of the local property tax base will impact all other local property taxpayers in these and possibly more municipalities. This bill restores the intended local property tax status quo intended to be determined in 1997. This bill also imposes the business personal property tax on the business personal property of wireless telephone companies. That business personal property would include small cell network nodes, which are low—powered radio access nodes that generally consist of small radios and antennas that are two or three feet long and placed on existing and new utility poles, street lights, signs, and signal light poles with the purpose of increasing the capacity of wireless network service.

New Jersey

AJR 170

Establishes the “New Jersey Commission on 5G Health Effects” to study the environmental and health effects of 5G wireless technologies.

New Mexico

None

 

New York

AB 896
SB 5330

Enacts the "wireless broadband eligible facility permitting act" to provide for uniform regulation of certain wireless facilities.

New York

AB 2657

Directs the study of the health and environmental impact of the implementation of 5G and future generation wireless network system technology and small cell distributed antenna systems in the state.

New York

AB 3945

Enacts the "wireless facility siting act"; directs cities, towns and villages to regulate the siting of cellular communications facilities.

New York

AB 4058

Establishes a temporary commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology.

New York

AB 6448
SB 5926

Establishes a temporary commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology.

North Carolina

HB 815

Facilitates the expansion of broadband service in unserved areas of the state by ensuring timely and nondiscriminatory access to municipal and electric membership cooperative utility poles, ducts, and conduits at just and reasonable rates; authorizes counties to provide grants to broadband service providers; further defines the term "city utility pole"; prohibits certain fees for the collocation of small wireless facilities; and makes related changes.

North Dakota

None

 

N. Mariana Islands

Not available

 

Ohio

None

 

Oklahoma

None

 

Oregon

None

 

Pennsylvania

HB 1621
Signed by governor 6/30/21, Act 50

Provides for small wireless facilities deployment.

Pennsylvania

SB 769
Passed Senate 6/22/21

Provides for small wireless facilities deployment.

Puerto Rico

None

 

Rhode Island

HB 5206

This bill provides that governmental authorities are to license small wireless facilities if the authority determines that the work is suitably safe and in the interest of the public. The public utilities commission would promulgate rules and regulations. Violations would be a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or imprisonment for one year, or both.

Rhode Island

HB 6151

This bill authorizes the municipalities and/or authorized government entities to regulate wireless telecommunication service providers construction and modification of equipment to provide for the public safety and welfare including land use, zoning, and aesthetics. The public utilities commission would be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations. Violation of the provision of this chapter or the rules and regulations would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. This bill also repeals the "Rhode Island Small Cell Siting Act", chapter 32 of title 39.

South Carolina

None

 

South Dakota

None

 

A. Samoa

Not available

 

Tennessee

HB 170
SB 149

Removes provision that requires TACIR to report to the chairs of the commerce committee of the house of representatives and commerce and labor committee of the senate by Jan. 1, 2021, on the impact of the Competitive Wireless Broadband Investment, Deployment, and Safety Act of 2018 after the report is given.

Tennessee

HB 343
SB 150

Requires TACIR to annually report, instead of only report once, on the impact of the Competitive Wireless Broadband Investment, Deployment, and Safety Act of 2018.

Tennessee

HB 1397
SB 857

Makes various changes to the Competitive Wireless Broadband Investment, Deployment, and Safety Act of 2018.

Texas

None

 

Utah

None

 

Vermont

None

 

Virginia

None

 

U.S. Virgin Islands

None

 

Washington

HB 1440

Brings innovation and investment to Washington's economy by streamlining the requirements for deployment of small wireless facilities.

Washington

SB 5110

Removes the wireless service tower height requirement to qualify for a categorical exemption. Mandates local governments to allow applicants to file a single set of documents for multiple microcell sites if certain requirements are met. Reduces the review timeframe of certain right-of-way lease applications and applications to occupy a right-of-way for wireline facilities. Removes exceptions for placing a moratorium on the processing of applications or use of any facilities for personal wireless services. Modifies provisions related to the classification of a telecommunications company. Modifies and expands the applicability of the charge for an easement granted for local public utility lines owned by a nongovernmental entity. Modifies provisions regulating public utility district authority to combine utility functions and account for wholesale and retail telecommunication services. Creates a business and occupation tax credit for a person providing broadband services in unserved areas.

West Virginia

None

 

Wisconsin

None

 

Wyoming

None

 

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

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