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NLC to study impact of preemption

by Martha DeGrasse

Most city governments want to retain control over where wireless carriers can place small cells, and how much they must pay for access to public property. In Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, Virgina, Minnesota and Indiana, new laws are in place to override some local authority when it comes to zoning, permitting and charging for small cell installations.


Now the National League of Cities says studies of the impact of state preemption will be part of a $2.9 million, 3-year program funded by the Marion Ewing Kaufmann Foundation. A team of more than a dozen researchers from academia and industry will study entrepreneurial environments with a focus on what communities can do to foster entrepreneurship.


“We posit that preemption is negatively affecting the entrepreneurial ecosystems of cities and thereby impeding growth and innovation in city economies,” NLC research director Christiana K. McFarland wrote in a blog post. “This grant will allow us the opportunity to test this hypothesis through rigorous analysis and quantitative research to provide data on the ultimate impact of these misguided policy dichotomies between state and city.”


McFarland pointed out that states often justify preemption on economic grounds, by saying that eliminating disparate local rules will encourage investment and growth. It’s a thesis she wants to put to the test, and she says the research grant will help. But whatever the research shows, the cities’ position on preemption is unlikely to change.



“Ultimately, this opportunity allows us to support cities in their efforts to prevent and reverse preemption,” McFarland wrote.


Cities have already been successful in the state of California, where a bill that would have preempted local government rights with respect to small cells was recently vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who said he was responding to local concerns.



When it comes to small cells, the biggest problem for cities may be the federal government. The Federal Communications Commission recently voted to eliminate requirements for environmental and historic preservation reviews of small cell applications. Next, the agency is expected to look at possibly regulating the fees that cities can charge for pole attachments.








Small Cell Market Forecast

Profiles of 19 small cell vendors plus total addressable market forecasts and predictions of the numbers of actual nodes that have been and will be deployed. Explanations of fronthaul, backhaul, CPRI, eICIC, and mobile network architecture. Discussion of the different types of small cell architectures, including outdoor distributed antenna systems (DAS.). Report produced by iGR Research.


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