Council to Vote on Ordinance Which Will Usher in 5G Communications Throughout City

Published : Monday, January 14, 2019 | 5:47 AM

Small cell (circled in red) on a pole-to-pole strand in Torrance, California; at right, a small cell mounted onto a pre-existing light standard. Photographs courtesy of the City of Pasadena

The Pasadena City Council will conduct a first reading Monday, Jan. 14, of a proposed ordinance that will amend Chapter 12.22 of the Pasadena Municipal Code, relating to telecommunications facilities, as the first step towards complying with a federal order to accelerate the deployment of 5G wireless technology throughout the United States.

The order, issued by the Federal Communications Commission in September, becomes effective this month.

City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris said the FCC’s decision is currently being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, but as litigation is pending, the decision still remains effective, and Pasadena is obligated to comply.

The ordinance will specifically define “small cells” as used by wireless carriers and will implement three separate tiers that the Department of Public Works should apply when it begins processing applications for the installation of small cells in support of the new federal thrust to start 5G service.

The ordinance will also “amend the process for considering wireless facilities proposed in the public right-of-way,” according to an Ordinance Fact Sheet prepared by the City Attorney.

In December, the City Council directed the City Attorney to prepare the draft for the ordinance, after the Public Works Department said the new FCC decision will require Pasadena, as well as all other local jurisdictions throughout the country, to set the stage for rapidly deploying 5G infrastructure.

Under the order, the City should not only process small cell applications within a timeframe of as short as 60 days, but also address any administrative appeals all the way through the issuance of construction permits.

Non-compliance with the timetables could result in federal penalties against the City, Public Works said.

Once deployed, 5G should make internet service in Pasadena much faster than currently installed technology does.

 

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