SB-649 Wireless Telecommunications Facilities [Small Cell Towers]

The bill was passed the Assembly and Senate and sent to the Governor’s office for signature at 5:30 on 21 September.  The Governor has until October 15th to sign or veto the bill. 

A copy of the bill as amended is HERE:20170SB649_92

This bill was opposed by a consortium of rural organizations:

ALERT! Opposition to SB 649 (Hueso) – Elimination of public input, full design review, and public benefit conditions for installation of wireless industry equipment.Assembly Floor (as amended 9/6/2017)

The California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California), the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the League of California Cities (League), the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and the Urban Counties of California (UCC) are a coalition of local, representing nearly every Californian, that overwhelmingly OPPOSE SB 649.

Despite promises made by the wireless industry, the sponsor of SB 649, this bill fails to deliver on its most basic promises. Fundamentally, SB 649 seeks to eliminate public input, full local environmental and design review, mandate the leasing of publicly owned infrastructure and eliminate the ability for local governments to negotiate leases or any public benefit for the installation of “small cell” equipment on taxpayer funded property.

Letter of Opposition to Assembly is HERE:SB_649_Joint_Floor_Alert_to_Asm_09072017

It occurred to me that the rollout of G-5 Small Cell Towers is going to be opposed by multiple states, counties, and cities, thus the Federal Government may be prodded into action. The formation of this FCC committee could the first step in that process:

FCC ANNOUNCES THE MEMBERSHIP OF TWO BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE WORKING GROUPS: COMPETITIVE ACCESS TO BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE AND REMOVING STATE AND LOCAL REGULATORY BARRIERS

GN Docket No. 17-83

This Public Notice serves as notice that Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai has appointed members to serve on two Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) working groups, Competitive Access to Broadband Infrastructure and Removing State and Local Regulatory Barriers.1 The members of these working groups are listed in Appendix A. The selection of members for the Streamlining Federal Siting working group is in progress, and final selections for this group will be announced at a later date.

The BDAC is organized under, and operates in accordance with, the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).2 The BDAC’s mission is to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access.3 The BDAC held its first meeting on Friday, April 21, 2017. 

If the Federal Government steps in State and Local Regulations could be null and void and telcos will get unfettered access to the infrastructure needed to host the small cell towers, including attaching the cell sites and antennas to existing buildings, light poles and power poles. Stay tuned, this going to be a very interesting year for telecommunications and local control.

Your thoughts on this issue are most welcome in the comments.

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