by Sarah Bays
A new law clamps down on how much municipalities can charge wireless carriers to mount 5G equipment within public rights-of-way.
Senate Bill 1004 went into effect Sept. 1, limiting local governments to collecting payment of $250 per network node per year.
Many cities had planned to charge $1,000 per node or more.
“That [new amount] certainly, in my opinion, doesn’t compensate the city for the staff time to review these permit applications,” said Dale Harwell, University Park IT director.
The bill’s author, Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, has said the new law will help grow Texas’ telecom infrastructure, improving cell service for customers and strengthening the state economically.
But Dallas and 21 other cities have filed suit, saying the law violates the anti-gift and non-delegation provisions of the state constitution. The suit argues that SB 1004 would make cities illegally transfer “wealth of as much as hundreds of millions of dollars from municipal coffers to private telecommunications companies each year.”
The law also regulates application and permitting processes, establishes short review times, and addresses what design standards municipalities may enact for aesthetic and safety needs.