MUNICIPAL ACTION GUIDE: Small Cell Wireless Technology in Cities, National League of Cities 2018

From our connected homes, where everything is controlled by the internet, to our workplaces,
where reliable broadband access is paramount for almost every type of job, technology is
impacting every facet of our daily lives. Cities are inextricably linked to the internet, and the
integration of new technologies promises better and more innovative ways to serve our residents.

With this seismic shift toward smart cities and the internet of things (IoT), reliance on wireless
and wireline broadband infrastructure is becoming greater and greater. Mobile phones, IoT
devices and other small wireless gadgets are becoming ubiquitous. Wireless data consumption
has reached approximately 1.8 exabytes per month in North America alone, and that number is
projected to grow six-fold by 2022.2 As various wireless providers maintain that the roll out of
5G internet service is approaching, and the IoT proliferates with the connection of millions of
new smart devices to the internet, cities must face the reality that to meet the increasing demands
of residents, more wireless facilities and infrastructure must be deployed. With that reality, city
officials must also face a number of considerations policy, public safety, land-use, and right-of-way.
As cities navigate this rapidly-changing policy issue with both wireless and infrastructure providers
and community residents, a number of considerations for the different stakeholders begin to emerge.

This action guide from the National League of Cities (NLC) provides an overview of small cell technology,
as well as guidance on how local governments can plan for, develop policy and processes around, and
manage the deployment of, small cell wireless infrastructure. It will also provide city leaders with
strategies for proactively engaging with wireless providers and residents to plan for small-cell networks
in their communities.

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