The City of Fort Collins is considering regulations for the installation of small cellular facilities by third parties in Fort Collins in the public right-of-way.
Residents are invited to join City staff at an open house anytime between 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Foothills Activity Center located in the Foothills Mall, 241 E. Foothills Pkwy., to discuss this topic.
A small cell facility is a wireless telecommunication facility that may consist of one or more radio receivers, antennas, interconnecting cables, power supply, and other associated equipment. These “small cells” require installation on existing infrastructure, such as light poles, or the construction of standalone poles.
The cell facilities improve coverage and capacity of wireless networks and are called small cells because they are considerably smaller in size and in power compared to “macro” sites or towers.
On July 1, 2017, HB 17-1193 went into effect in the state of Colorado. This legislation expands the right of cellular infrastructure companies to locate small cell facilities in the City’s right-of-way, through either the construction of standalone poles or via attachment of facilities on existing City-owned infrastructure within the right-of-way, such as street light poles or traffic signal poles.
There are significant gaps in wireless cellular coverage in parts of Fort Collins that could be improved by the installation of small cells. The City of Fort Collins recognizes that residents depend on coverage for safety, business, and quality of life considerations, and both Fort Collins Police Services and Poudre Fire Authority utilize cellular equipment to perform their duties in service to the public. Allowing for the deployment of small cells in a manner consistent with community standards may help to fill coverage gaps.
To properly regulate cell facilities, a moratorium prohibits companies from erecting small cellular facilities and/or standalone poles without a master license agreement, MLA. The moratorium expires December 31, 2017. Council plans to adopt regulations before then.