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Indian Tribes Battle for Say in 5G Equipment Rollout

American Indian tribes are steeling themselves for a fight with wireless carriers and federal regulators as the race for next-generation wireless networks kicks into high gear. Starting July 2, Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., and other wireless carriers can bypass historic preservation and environmental reviews for small cell equipment, which is smaller than traditional cell towers. Carriers plan to use the equipment to launch “5G” networks, aiming to ensure the U.S. takes the global lead in the technology. But opposing tribes—concerned about the equipment breaching lands that are culturally significant—are asking a federal appeals court and the Federal Communications Commission to s

Carriers clamor for FCC oversight of state- and city-level small cell fees

The nation’s wireless carriers continue to petition the FCC to issue guidelines to states and cities about how much they should charge for small cell deployments and other network upgrades. “Many municipalities unfortunately continue to demand exorbitant fees for access to rights-of-way and structures within them, including, for example, attachment fees that exceed $4,000 per year,” Verizon wrote in a recent filing. “Some cities, where providers may have a competitive necessity to offer service, continue to use their considerable leverage to seek fees that far exceed their costs.” Verizon continued: “A number of Florida cities have imposed moratoria on small cell applications, and other citi

San Antonio to create innovation zones for new technology

Dive Brief: San Antonio plans to create three "innovation zones" to test emerging technology, the mayor’s office told the city council last week. "We see the innovation zones as a real-world proving ground for the pilot smart city technology that we’re testing," said Chief Innovation Officer Jose De La Cruz, according to StateScoop. "The zones are really the next phase in our overall smart city strategy." The plan calls for three designated zones in the Brooks neighborhood in southeast San Antonio, the medical center in the northwest and downtown. Some city council members proposed moving the downtown zone to elsewhere in the city. Dive Insight: Mayor Ron Nirenberg is striving to make San An

DuPage, IL proposes small cell antenna ordinance

DuPage County is looking to enact local rules that officials hope will mitigate the downside of wireless companies installing small cell antennas on publicly owned utility poles, streetlights and rights of way. Gov. Bruce Rauner in April signed the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, despite strong objections from DuPage and other counties and municipalities across the state. The new state law prevents local governments from prohibiting, regulating or charging for the installation, mounting, maintaining, operating or replacement of the small cell antennas. Supporters say the change will attract investment in the latest wireless networks in Illinois and result in faster mobile internet

Schenectady, N.Y., Forges Ahead with Smart City Efforts

(TNS) — National Grid and the city of Schenectady, N.Y., launched a three-year, $6.7 million project to set the groundwork for Schenectady to become a "smart city" of the future where lights and sensors deployed on city streets will make city services more efficient and help improve public safety programs. The initiative, which will be paid for through the utility, will begin with National Grid converting more than 4,000 street lights across the city to energy-efficient LED lights that use much less energy than traditional light bulbs. However, the project will also include using those street lights to install a variety of wireless data network nodes and sensors that will dramatically increa

Florida City Plans Test of Smart Meters, Eyes Broadband Expansion

(TNS) — Residents and business owners in downtown Bartow, Fla., and points north have been selected to take part in the city's pilot program to expand the fiber-optic network and potentially to provide internet access. Bartow commissioners have set aside $2.5 million for the initial expansion. Initially, the expanded area would be limited to smart electric utility metering, City Manager George Long said, but using it to provide high-speed internet throughout Bartow is being considered. "Expansion citywide is going to be about 10 times the cost of the pilot project," Long said. "It's going to be expensive." The city plans to equip the 1,224 households and businesses in the pilot project with

The FCC and cities: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The most significant meta-theme about governance in the United States today is that the federal government is dysfunctional and disrespected, but that local governments are responsive, proactive, effective, and respected in building communities that improve the lives of their residents. One sees this on the bookshelves, where books on the federal government have titles like “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” or “It’s Even Worse than You Think,” while books on cities carry titles like “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier” or “The New Localism: How Cities can Thrive in the Age of Populism.” It also shows up in the polling data.

Proponents and opponents of MI small cell technology systems debate before Energy Policy Committee

As two Senate bills raised the notion of setting standardized fees for wireless providers to pay to install small cell technology systems in municipal rights of way, supporters and opponents of the idea gathered before the House Energy Policy Committee this week to testify. The debate focused primarily on the installation of a network of small cell wireless facilities atop poles and structures owned by the counties, cities, and townships of Michigan. While wireless providers are in support of the effort, municipalities are concerned that they would have no say in the amount of fees charged or if the cells could be installed at all. This fact even sparked Auburn Mayor Lee Kilbourn to denounce

Small Cities Use Fiber Infrastructure to Decrease Digital Divide

Throughout June, NLC is celebrating America’s forward-thinking small cities and towns with #SmallCitiesMonth. This is a guest post by Lisa Gonzalez, senior telecommunications researcher at The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Significant segments of Americans still struggle to obtain some form of broadband Internet access and even more don’t have a choice of high-quality Internet service. Local communities are considering ways to expand digital inclusion for their citizens and taking action — as those with publicly owned networks have powerful tools for change. Two diverse American communities — Wilson, North Carolina, and Arlington County, Virginia — are using fiber, ingenuity, and collab

How Cities Can Respond When the State Legislature Says ‘No’

The steady increase in preemptive state bills that block local governments from moving forward on new ideas opposed by state legislatures has created a “minefield” for officials, said Carl Stenberg, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public administration professor. Stenberg studied state bills primarily dealing with the minimum wage and broadband and found 70 percent would limit local authority, 18 percent potentially imposed additional requirements on cities and only 11 percent would expand their powers. He shared his findings Tuesday at the National Academy of Public Administration’s "Promoting Equality in an Age of Austerity" conference in New York City. “We’re arguing for loc

5G: What is it good for?

5G, or 5th generation mobile, is the next big leap in wireless communications. You’ve probably heard about it in commercials or seen it in headlines. But much of the discussion about the new technology has been focused on its engineering features, infrastructure requirements and public policy considerations. With technical buzzwords like “network slicing,” “beamforming,” and “multi-access edge computing,” it may be hard to really understand what 5G is all about and why we should care. Here, then, is a brief explanation of how 5G will be used and what it will mean for your online experience — and your everyday life. Existing applications 5G, which will supplement rather than replace today’s

Berea, OH addresses small cell facility state law 'no city is thrilled with'

Berea Law Director Barb Jones and city officials across the state are working quickly to develop new chapters in their codified ordinances that add greater specificity to regulations for small cell facilities. They intend to enact new city codes ahead of a state measure slated to go into effect July 31. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill in May that outlines what municipalities can -- and can't -- do about small cell facility companies and the equipment they erect on public rights-of-way. Small cellular and wireless equipment often is attached to new or existing poles, or it can be contained in a short, freestanding structure. Berea previously joined with 80 other Ohio cities in a

Kansas City, Mo., Issues RFP for Smart City Partner

Those 54 smart city blocks in Kansas City, Mo., could grow to several hundred in five to 10 years, bringing connected technologies and linking parking meters, transit stops, intersections and more. The city is moving forward with its next expansion of smart city technologies, in part, through the issuance of an RFP as the first step to partner with the private sector in the form of hiring a “program manager.” The manager — which is another way of saying private-sector partner — will be charged with designing and building a “full integrated suite of sensors, networks and data and analytics platforms,” according to the RFP. The program manager will work collaboratively with the city on smart c

California Mayor Continues Pause on Small Cell Deployment After Verizon "Ran Roughshod" Ov

(TNS) — Santa Rosa is still unwilling to let Verizon Wireless install antennas and wireless equipment on city light poles, putting the carrier’s plans to boost network coverage in the city on hold indefinitely. The city council on Tuesday reaffirmed the “pause” it placed on the project in March, saying the way the company had managed the rollout of “small cell” wireless gear on wooden utility poles in the city was a cause for concern. Mayor Chris Coursey said the company “did a really lousy job of outreach” to neighborhoods where gear has been installed on Pacific Gas & Electric poles, making him hesitant to partner with the company on the portion of the project involving city-owned poles. “

Oregon Community is Ready to Invest in Fiber for their Residents & Businesses

Hillsboro, Oregon, has studied the possibility of investing in high-quality fiber connectivity for residents and businesses since 2014. After considering the pros and cons, this northwest city of 105,000 has decided to move ahead, with spring 2019 as a target launch date of its own Internet access service. Communications Utility and Beyond In January, the City Council approved establishing a communications utility, creating a communications fund, and taking the necessary steps to develop a dig once policy in the city’s code. Elected officials had not yet decided if the community would pursue a city-wide network, but wanted to create an environment that would offer future options and encourag

Making 5G a Reality Means Building Partnerships — Not Just Networks

The close working relationship between Verizon and information technology officials in Sacramento could turn out to be a model for communities across the country as cities move forward with smart city projects and the high-capacity communications networks needed to support them. “In a traditional vendor-customer kind of relationship, you might be sitting on opposite sides of the table, trying to ensure that you’re pulling the best out of each other,” said Verizon's Lani Ingram, vice president of smart communities, sports and IoT platforms. “And I think what is really unique in the way that we approached it, is we both got on the same side of the table. And on the other side of the table we p

With Funding in Place, Florida City Begins Planning Fiber-Optic Expansion

Bartow is poised to move ahead with a pilot project that potentially could bring fiber-optic services, including internet, to residential neighborhoods. Currently, the city's fiber-optics service is limited to governmental buildings and those businesses that are close enough to them to piggyback on the system. The city wants to expand that, said City Manager George Long, but only in the shallow water to start. "We want to start with a pilot project so we can learn what we can about this process before we make a huge investment," he said. He said it's likely that system could be under construction by the end of the year. This year's budget includes $2.5 million for it, he said, so the funding

City-Industry Rifts Mire FCC Panel's Bid To Grease 5G

When FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced a new task force last year, he optimistically billed it as a way to break down local regulatory hurdles slowing the rollout of new 5G technology. But a year and half after its formation, the panel is facing many roadblocks of its own. The idea for the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, or BDAC, was simple: The panel would draw up templates for municipal right-of-way agreements, state legislation and other guidance that would streamline and unify the deployment process. The effort was part of a push from both the Federal Communications Commission and industry to ensure companies don’t get bogged down haggling with local officials while applications

5G Aesthetics Prove a Balancing Act for Cities Like Palo Alto

Crown Castle has the unenviable task of working with cities to deploy wireless networks, often after backing state legislation bypassing their authority to set lease rates for access to public rights of way. The nation’s largest wireless infrastructure provider, Crown Castle has been accused of painting local government as a barrier to fifth generation wireless, or 5G, and undermining their leverage in public-private partnerships. Still, Crown operates its own networks in communities for 20 to 30 years—making the Houston-based company a long-term reality for many municipalities. “We do try to take municipal concerns into account because, at the end of the day, I need to get a permit to meet

Middleburg, OH will closely regulate small cell facilities in right-of-ways

Law Director Gary Ebert will create a new chapter in the Middleburg Heights codified ordinances to define city standards for small cell facilities and wireless support structures in the right-of-ways. Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently signed a bill containing small cell regulations that will go into effect July 31. Ebert told City Council in early May there is enough time for Middleburg to further define cellular guidelines for right-of-ways ahead of the new law. The draft ordinance Ebert presented to council emphasized the need to "preserve the character of the city by minimizing the potentially adverse visual impact of small cell facilities and wireless support structures." Throughout the ind

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