COLUMBUS—State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Gallipolis) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) today announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation encouraging private sector investments into the state’s high-speed internet infrastructure.

House Bill 478, a Buckeye Pathway bill, is the product of months of negotiations and compromise between local governments and the wireless industry regarding the installation and operation of small cell wireless technology. Small cells are low-powered antennas that attach to streetlights and poles in the public right-of-way to help upgrade the existing wireless network to support 5G data speeds.

“I am proud to joint sponsor this bill with Representative LaTourette, which will help to proliferate the most advanced technology available for our constituents, enhancing their opportunities and better preparing the state for future technological development,” said Smith.

The legislation creates a regulatory framework for the installation of small cells regarding municipal public way usage law. Specifically, House Bill 478 includes the following guidelines regarding small cell technology:

• Uniform fees to attach to municipal-owned poles and a uniform process for obtaining permits
• Tools for local governments to retain control regarding location, construction, and design for small cells
• Competitive rules that apply to both cable operators and wireless service providers for the operation of small cell facilities

“This common-sense bill will pave the way for a uniform regulatory process to facilitate this critical network upgrade—something so very important for Ohio’s future,” said LaTourette. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Representative Smith on Substitute House Bill 478 and am thrilled that the House supported this measure today.”

House Bill 478, which strives to modernize Ohio’s wireless infrastructure, now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

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