Advocacy Toolkit: Small Cell Wireless and the Public Right of Way

Background
Private wireless and cellular service providers are pushing legislation that would allow unregulated access to the public right of way for installation of small cell wireless equipment and distributed antenna systems. If passed, these for-profit companies would be the only unregulated industry allowed unfettered access to this public asset.

Current legislation
HF 739 (Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska) and SF 561 (Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound), would allow small cell wireless equipment to be placed on utility poles, signs, kiosks, traffic signals, light poles, or arches without the ability of a city to adequately apply its zoning authority.

Additionally, it prevents cities from negotiating zoning, rates, permit timelines, and maintenance as it relates to the installation of emerging wireless infrastructure.

League solution
The League is proposing alternative bill language that amends the current right-of-way management law and works within existing law to ensure wireless companies enjoy the same rights and privileges afforded to other users in the public right of way. It incorporates wireless providers into current law while retaining local decision-making.

What can I as a city official do to help?

CONTACT your legislators to communicate objections to this legislation, and ensure that local governments continue to have authority to exercise control over this core government function of managing public assets.

Use these resources as you talk to legislators:

Please contact the League at liaison@lmc.org to let us know that you've talked to your legislator (or if we can help you with your advocacy efforts).