West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a small cell reform bill this week, which limits government fees and speeds review periods for the build out of small cells.
“With Gov. Justice’s signature, West Virginia becomes the 22nd state to enact proactive small cell legislation. Senate Bill 3 will spur West Virginia’s economic growth and greater investment in next-generation 5G wireless services throughout the state,” said WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “This bill also contains an important tax provision that will further help promote broadband deployment throughout the Mountain State. WIA is thrilled to support this balanced, bipartisan bill. I thank the sponsors and the governor for their leadership on this bill, which will benefit West Virginians in so many ways, from bridging the homework gap to enabling access to advanced healthcare applications.”
Commissioner Brendan Carr congratulated the governor and the legislature of West Virginia, noting that small cell reform legislation in other states is already bearing fruit.
“With 22 state small-cell bills enacted and counting, and reforms by the FCC at the federal level, we are already seeing significant results,” Commissioner Carr said. “One provider reports that they turned on 27,000 small cells in 2018 alone — an 800 percent increase from 2017. Another provider now expects to double its small cell deployment from 2018 levels.”
West Virginia’s small cell reform bill allows localities to charge up to $25 per year for the use of the right-of-way and $65 per year for attachment of small cells to certain utility poles, and it requires localities to approve or disapprove of small cell attachments generally within 60 days of applications. Commissioner Carr penned an FCC order, approved in September of last year, that presumptively reduces annual fees nationwide to $270 per year and sets review periods for attachments at 60 days.
CTIA Senior Vice President of External and State Affairs, Jamie Hastings, said, “We applaud Governor Justice, Senate President Carmichael, Senator Boso, Delegate Shott and House Speaker Hanshaw on the passage of West Virginia Senate Bill 3. By modernizing state rules for small cell deployment, West Virginia is primed for the economic and civic benefits of 5G networks. According to Accenture, next-generation wireless networks will bring more than $140M in economic growth to Charleston and Huntington alone.”