COLUMBUS—State Representative Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) announced that the Ohio House has passed legislation encouraging private sector investments into the state’s high-speed internet infrastructure.
House Bill 478 is a Buckeye Pathway bill that fulfills all three goals of the policy initiative, improving the economic environment, enhancing opportunities for all Ohioans, and strengthening families and communities. It 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 support House Bill 478, as it ensures Ohio communities will have access to technological advances in the wireless industry,” said Wiggam. “Finding balance between the necessity of this technology and local control was struck with this bill, and I look forward to the Senate taking up the hard work we accomplished in this bill.”
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, design for small cells
• Competitive rules that apply to both cable operators and wireless service providers for the operation of small cell facilities
House Bill 478, which strives to modernize Ohio’s wireless infrastructure, now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.