The steady march of state legislation transforming the regulatory process for deploying small cells in the right-of-way continued last week as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure giving carriers a “fair and predictable process” for small cell deployment.
The bill classifies small wireless facilities as permitted-uses and subject only to administrative review if they are collocated in rights-of-way or outside rights-of-way in property zoned exclusively for commercial or industrial use.
However, the act said the small wireless facilities must be designed in a manner “consistent with the character of the area.” Additionally, it does not apply to a municipality with a population of more than 1 million or more, in other words Chicago.
Delays in processing have been a constant source of friction between municipalities and wireless carriers. The Bill sets out certain municipal deadlines before an application is “deemed approved.”
Another source of irritation has been rates and fees. According the bill, a municipality may charge an application fee of up to $650 for an application to collocate a single small wireless facility on an existing utility pole or wireless support structure and up to $350 for each small wireless facility addressed in an application to collocate more than one small wireless facility on existing utility poles or wireless support structures. An application fee of $1,000 may be charged for each small wireless facility addressed in an application that includes the installation of a new utility for the collocation.
The bill sets the annual recurring rate for collocation of small cell wireless facilities on authority utility poles $200 per year.