||Municipal Powers |
HB 887 expedites the deployment of 5G technology in densely populated urban and metro areas through the creation of a streamlined permitting process for the installion of small cell antennas and new poles in the public rights-of-way.
This bill preempts home rule authority and significantly limits local government ability to deny new pole applications as it relates to location or aesthetics.Wireless support equipment can be up to 25 cubic feet in volume, while other ancillary equipment, including up to four ground cabinets, have no size requirement. Additionally, each wireless provider can apply for up to 120 permits at any one time and all completed applications are 'granted approved' after 75 days. Although the justification for this bill is to encourage economic development in Georgia, the permits that must be issued to those seeking to build wireless infrastructure do not expire and only require that collocation work be operational within nine months and construction of a structure or facility begin within one year.
Local governments are prohibited from imposing on wireless service providers the same franchise fees charged to other users of the rights-of-way, such as cable and telephone companies, that have been covering the costs for right-of way-management for decades. This bill caps the annual right of way rental rate artifically low at $125.00 per site. Cities should be able to retain the ability to negotiate fair market value of the costs of doing business in the public right-of-way to prevent government subsidies to private for profit companies.
Investor owned utility poles such as Georgia Power, EMC and municipal electric provider poles are exempt from the legislation, as well as state property and state rights-of-way.