Ohio last week finally joined the ranks of states that overhauled their permitting requirements for small cellular infrastructure.
Gov. John Kasich’s office announced his signature of the legislation, House Bill 478, on Wednesday.
Ohio originally enacted statewide small cell legislation in late 2016, but that measure drew a series of lawsuits from dozens of municipalities concerned about their ability to oversee construction on public rights-of-way.
A Franklin County court rejected the law before it took effect, and The Columbus Dispatch reported that local governments and industry officials spent months negotiating the compromise legislation signed by Kasich this month.
“This provides more predictability and speed to the industry, while also protecting the character of our cities,” Dana McDaniel, the city manager of the Columbus suburb of Dublin, told the paper. “That’s what we’ve been trying to balance throughout this process.”
The Dispatch noted that municipalities would be able to regulate the placement and appearance of small cells, which are needed for faster 5G networks, on publicly owned structures under the latest bill. Local governments would also need to evaluate proposals for new small cell structure construction within established timeframes.
AT&T’s Ohio director of external affairs, Brad McLean, told the paper that the lengthy talks resulted in “give-and-take by both sides, but it worked out well.”
The group said 5G investment was expected to amount to $525 million and $529 million in just Oklahoma City and Nashville, respectively.