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What is the Next Generation (5G) of Wireless Telecommunications?
The field of telecommunications continues to evolve at a very fast pace.  5G is the 5th generation of mobile networks and the technology that is being developed will significantly increase data speeds and support the development of other new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, smart homes, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things with billions of connected devices.  Wireless access for homes and enhanced mobile services are likely to be the first applications using the new 5G technology, with the first mobile devices providing 5G connectivity expected to become available in 2020.

Unlike older wireless technology (3G, 4G) that rely on a network of microwave dish and panel antennas that can receive and send data over a large area (macro cells), 5G antennas are generally smaller in size (each antenna equivalent to the size of a tool cabinet) and have a more limited coverage area of less than 1,000 feet, meaning they are most effective where there is a line of sight between the antenna and the user or another antenna.  This changes the infrastructure needed to support 5G telecommunications.  Rather than utilize a network of antennas mounted on tall transmission towers spaced miles apart, 5G antennas require a dense network of closely-spaced antennas that can be installed on utility poles and buildings that are closer to the user base.

What has Happened Recently?
In support of the goal to advance the country’s infrastructure for the next generation of wireless telecommunications facilities, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new requirements on September 26, 2018 which streamlined and removed regulatory barriers that were perceived to inhibit the deployment of advanced wireless communications services, such as 5G.  The FCC’s actions placed new limits on state and local government’s regulatory authority over small wireless infrastructure located within the public rights of way, established limits on the amount of fees that can be charged for use of publicly owned utility poles for the installation of telecommunications equipment (such as antennas) as well as the amount of fees that can be charged for the review of telecommunications facilities.  Also included in the FCC’s action are more stringent deadlines for local government to process small wireless applications, and stricter limits on local government’s ability to require undergrounding of equipment and application of aesthetic considerations in their review of small wireless telecommunications facilities.

What is the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act?
The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act (the “Act”), 50 ILCS 840/1 et seq., which was signed into law on April 12, 2018, as Public Act 100-0585, provides the regulations and process for permitting and deploying small wireless facilities within rights-of-way and on private property throughout Illinois (excluding Chicago). Small wireless facilities, also known as a “small cell,” are most often attached to utility or other poles. Small wireless facilities enable the transmission of data and wireless communications to and from a wireless device, such as a computer, cell phone, tablet, or new “smart home” types of devices (thermostats, refrigerators) and even, in the near future, driverless cars. The Act states that these small wireless facilities are critical to delivering wireless access to advanced technology, broadband and 9-1-1 services to homes, businesses and schools in Illinois. The telecommunications industry drafted and sought approval of the Act in order to roll out a 5G telecommunications network over the course of the next couple of years using small wireless facility installations attached to utility and other poles with minimal say by municipalities on where the installations are sited. The Village can subject small wireless facilities to zoning review in the zoning districts when located outside the right-of-way.

Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Resolution Adopting Written Design Standards for Small Wireless Facilities

Design Standards and What is Regulated

Summary of Authority and Regulations

Village Communications

Related Small Cell Website Links

Pending Small Wireless Facilities Permit Applications

Contact your Federal and State Officals

Submit a Question or Concern

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