Just Announced: Small Cells, Big Impact – Half the Nation Has Now Enacted 5G Laws

Just announced earlier this afternoon, half of of the states in the U.S., Nebraska being the most recent, have enacted policies that modernize state rules to deploy small wireless facilities. These carefully crafted laws reflect the innovative changes in technology for the deployment of 5G. States continue to take the lead on clearing barriers to 5G deployment. To date, 25 states have put legislation in place to expedite the deployment of small cells in the public right-of-way in a responsible and sustainable manner. Arkansas, Georgia, and West Virginia have also enacted a balanced small cell framework this year for their states. 

Small, but Important Details of Small Cell Bills   

  • First, the bills define a “small wireless facility” using a technology-neutral, volume-based calculation that keeps pace with this nascent, evolving technology.  
  • Second, they reduce administrative burdens. The frameworks allow applicants to file a consolidated application for a small cell network rather than requiring individual applications for each node. 
  • Finally, enactment of a statewide small cell bill streamlines the deployment of wireless facilities in the public right-of-way, which is an area well-understood to be for the public benefit. 

WIA is actively monitoring bills in Wisconsin and Maryland with the hope that they turn into fully enacted laws. Have a policy question about how policy impacts your state or company? Email advocacy@wia.org.  

Difference between a bill and law A bill is a proposed piece of legislation. A law is an approved piece of legislation. Once a bill becomes law, it can be enforced. WIA strives to ensure that small cell bills turn into laws as swiftly as possible to prepare the nation for 5G build-out.