Small Cell Consultation
Due to the artistic and historic characteristics of Laguna Beach, California, the community was very concerned about the impacts of the FCC’s new regulations on small cells to streamline the introduction of 5G wireless technology. City leadership wanted to improve coverage and receive the benefit of increased speeds while managing the aesthetic and construction impacts these new infrastructure projects would have on residents and businesses.
The City was provided an overview of new technologies that will impact community and telecommunications providers; an overview of some of the challenges involved in complying with the new FCC order; and a discussion of strategies to help address these new challenges. City Council directed city staff to create a strategy and broadband master plan for adding small cell sites and expanding wireless infrastructure in general. This plan will include several components, including guidelines on how to go about processing small cell ‘deployments, developing best practices in public policy, and reviewing how the City can leverage existing infrastructure to facilitate small cell deployment and will provide policies to help further manage rights-of-way in anticipation of the deployment of 5G technology. The plan will also help review both long-and short-term wireless broadband infrastructure needs, propose additional design guidelines, and evaluate a dig-once policy and co-location incentives to help minimize the number and scale of excavations when installing fiber infrastructure in rights-of-way. The goal of the plan is to control where structures may be placed, how they are disguised from view, and establish standardized aesthetic requirements in addition to the criteria recently adopted by the City Council in its update to the Guidelines for Site Selection and Visual Impact and Screening of Telecommunications Facilities. See the LA Times Story featuring this project here.