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The state and towns fight over 5G cell phone fees

Mar 20, 2018 2:14 pm
Rick Karlin reports in Capitol Confidential that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to dictate to localities how they set up cell towers with new 5G technology, and that has some local officials upset. A proposal in Cuomo's budget would set statewide standards for approving towers or poles using 5G, and sets costs for those structures. “The bill sets up a uniform process entirely administered by local governments, allowing for local control while encouraging private investment to expand service,” said Budget Division spokesman Morris Peters. But that's not how some local officials see it. “This legislation would handcuff the ability of every municipality in New York state to manage access to their public rights-of-way,” states a memo on the proposal from the state Conference of Mayors. Municipalities would be limited to charging a $200 annual rental limit for each cell signaling device a carrier put on a tower or pole. The story says Buffalo officials want to charge up to $2,000 for that service. 5G technology should make cell service much, much faster, but it also means many more wireless transmitters about 500 feet apart. The state's position seems to echo Robert Puckett, president of the state Telecommunications Association, who said that if each pole means $2,000 more fees, "Who is going to deploy with those costs?” Locally, Bethlehem chagres cell carriers about $2,400 per month for an antenna on a town water tower. Read the full story in Capitol Confidential.
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