Today, 36 local elected officials sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in defense of local decision-making around 5G investments, small cell deployment, and the use of public rights-of-way. The letter pushes back on the narrative that local leaders are a barrier to small cell deployment, instead calling for collaboration between industry and municipalities.

 

The signatories from Next Century Cities’ member communities, who together represent nearly 8 million Americans, wrote that they “are concerned that the Commission will take actions that harm the public by decreasing our local authority without actually resolving the key problems that are limiting increased investment in better networks.” Read the full letter here.

 

Next Century Cities also released new research, conducted by independent researcher RVA LLC, that includes survey results from 176 local government employees about the primary objectives and concerns of local leaders around smart city technology and small cell deployment.

 

“We are pleased to release this independently conducted research on how and where 5G is being considered and deployed, as well as the status of smart cities applications currently in use. Contrary to the narrative that locally elected officials are a barrier to implementation, they are in fact eager to collaborate with providers to expedite the deployment of the necessary infrastructure to bring innovation and opportunity to their communities,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities.

 

According to the research, small cell deployment is well underway. Nearly half of respondents (44%) have deployed small cells in their communities, while an additional 26% are considering deployment. As deployment spreads, local leaders indicated widespread concern around federal and state preemption: 84% of survey respondents believed that state laws under consideration related to pole use for small cells were negative to their community, while only 3% believed they were positive. See the full research here and a Fact Sheet with more details here.