Crown Castle has formed and funded a grass roots group, the Pennsylvania Partnership for 5G, to spread support for the state legislation and for 5G, in general. The PA Partnership for 5G is a group of organizations that will reach out to the state government, consumers and others promote technologies that help the state to remain economically competitive.
“Crown Castle realized the need to turn up the dial as it relates to the [5G] conversation in Pennsylvania,” said Ashley Shook of Duane Morris Government Strategies, a professional organization that is managing the partnership.
The partnership’s primary functions will be educational as well as advocacy, promoting legislation that will streamline local regulations regarding small cell deployment.
“By 2020, 5G-capable devices will be available, but currently the state of Pennsylvania does not currently have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of that technology,” Shook said. “We are hopeful that we can develop legislation in Pennsylvania that will be uniform and predictable in nature, so that we can get these small cell nodes deployed.”
The Pennsylvania Partnership of 5G has created a diverse coalition, which maintains the state needs 5G and the accompanying wireless infrastructure to remain competitive on the business front. The partnership is geographically diverse as well as inclusive of multiple industries, including hospitality, tourism, technology associations and even a county government agency and a municipal chamber of commerce, as well as the Pennsylvania Wireless Association.
“It covers a large swath and that makes sense, because this is an issue that affects every sector and every person,” Shook said. “We wanted it to be representative of a wide array of business interests and consumer interests.”
The partnership may be called upon to battle opposition that may rise against future legislation supporting small cell deployment. A bill introduced last year giving wireless improved access to telephone poles, streetlights and publicly owned rights-of-way across Pennsylvania sparked a battle between wireless and local municipalities. It was similar to others that have passed legislatures across the country.
“The heads of the Pennsylvania associations for township supervisors, boroughs, and commissioners, as well as the Pennsylvania Municipal League, sent a jointly signed letter opposing the bill to its sponsors,” wrote Bob Fernandez, in Philly.Com in November of last year. “The letter said the proposed legislation ‘is not in the best interests of Pennsylvania.’ North Wales, Reading, and other Pennsylvania local governments passed, or are considering passing, resolutions opposing the bill.”
State Representative Frank Ferry is expected to introduce legislation addressing the impediments to small cell deployment by the end of this month. Expect fireworks.
To get involved, go to https://papartnershipfor5g.com