The City Council approved an ordinance to regulate the deployment of 5G small cells in Pell City, AL. The St. Clair Times reported that due to legislation under consideration (SB172) at the state level, the city would need to have an ordinance in place by May 1, or would be subject to state guidelines.
At Monday’s meeting, an AT&T representative was on hand to explain how small cells operate. During the meeting, City Manager Brian Muenger said the municipality requires a third party to evaluate the application for small cells since the city doesn’t have engineers on staff.
Muenger discussed the additional consultant fees with AT&T representative Tim Hawkins, who said the carrier disagrees with the city’s requirement for AT&T to cover those fees upfront through an escrow account. Hawkins added that the company thinks it’s a violation of FCC guidelines.
Councilman Jay Jenkins said that while no one wants Pell City to be held back from a technology standpoint, he doesn’t agree with putting the city in a difficult financial situation. “It’s still a monetary expense, and I don’t see that a smaller city could be forced, or should be forced, to eat this expense because basically, it’s a requirement,” Jenkins said.
Councilman Jud Alverson proposed an amendment to the ordinance that would make fees reimbursable instead of an upfront cost to AT&T, reported the Times. The council agreed to Alverson’s suggested amendment, adding it to the ordinance, which then passed.
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