Telecommunications

Background

A recent ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires the City to identify Small Cell Design Standards for public right-of-way by April 15, 2019. Per this recent FFC Order, cities cannot require undergrounding and must provide reasonable, deployable and scalable design standards. Furthermore, the FCC Small Cell Order provides a “shot clock” that requires cities to approve wireless cell antennas within 60 days of application for existing poles and 90 days for new poles. Finally, the Order states that poles must be made available for small cell wireless and sets a cost-based structure based on cost-recovery rates. Given the requirement to conform with the FCC Small Cell Order and the City’s desire for broadband, staff is currently pursuing these strategies.

Zoning Design Standards Issues
Title 18, Division 1, Chapter 18.96 of the Zoning Code establishes standards and the permitting process for wireless communication facilities and regulates placement on private and public property. The City is initiating an amendment to Chapter 18.96 (Wireless Communication Facilities) removing the requirement for an Administrative Use Permit for pole-mounted facilities within the public right-of-way. Other associated changes are recommended related to this amendment.  Staff is studying best practices for Small Cell Design Standards. The City is updating the City Standards to provide clarity and encourage fiber installation and deployment of wireless antennas. These policies include Design Standards and installation requirements for the antennas as well as updating City Standards and regulation for public and private projects, which includes exploring a dig-once policy to incent installation of conduit when an open trench is available.  Other telecommunications efforts include developing a dig-once policy to incentivize installation of conduit when an open trench is available and identify opportunities to enhance connectivity amongst City facilities. This will be done through a Request for Proposals that will be issued in March 2019. 
The City planning commission is meeting on March 12, 2019 to review changes to the zoning code. Staff anticipates bringing forward recommended Design Standards for wireless facilities in the public right-of-way and a Master Licensing Agreement along with the proposed changes to the Zoning Code to City Council on March 20, 2019. The following sections of the report will provide additional background on the City’s efforts to improve telecommunications, industry trends and additional background on State and Federal regulations.   
  The City met with telecommunications providers on March 6, 2019.  

Documents