Telecom Companies Preparing for Next Generation Wireless Service in Arlington
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on August 08, 2019, August 08, 2019

Proposed small cell tower
Telecommunication companies continue working to enhance Arlington’s wireless infrastructure and service through the installation of small cell facilities within the City’s rights-of-way.

These small cells, which are designed to bring the next generation of wireless service and high-speed internet access to Arlington’s homes, schools and businesses, may be installed on their own stand-alone poles, known as node support poles, or on the City’s existing street light poles, utility poles or traffic signal poles. In some cases, the companies are replacing the City’s street light poles with what are known as Dual-Purpose Poles that feature both a street light and the small cell technology.

The City of Arlington expects to receive an estimated 1,000 permit applications for the placement of small cells in its rights-of-way by the end of this year.

Under state and federal law, network providers have a right of access to install small cells in the public right-of-way. Except in very limited circumstances, cities may not prohibit or regulate the presence or placement of small cells in these areas. Small cell facilities are installed in compliance with the City’s Wireless Services Design Manual, which was originally adopted in 2017 and updated this past March to successfully facilitate the deployment of 5G technology.

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