Earlier in February, HB 184 worked its way through the Georgia House. The legislation, sponsored primarily by House Ways and Means Chairman Brett Harrell, will streamline the permitting process and the process of acquiring the right-of-way for wireless providers in the deployment of 5G technology. The House passed the bill 170-1 and is now sitting in the Senate awaiting a hearing.
5G is the next generation of cellular mobile communications. It will succeed 4G as the primary standard in the coming years. 5G technology shows promise in delivering broadband speeds that are substantially higher than the current 4G/LTE standard.
5G is also new in terms of the frequencies that it uses. The standard will be using higher radio frequencies. Higher frequencies can’t travel as far as lower frequencies which means radio antennae will need to be much closer than current technologies. Enter small cell technology.
When we think of the cellular network, we think of our phones (duh) and the tall towers that get NIMBY groups in a tizzy. Those tall towers are a part of the “macro cell” network. These towers provide service over the distance of miles. Low-power small cell installations will be much shorter range—yards, not miles. These small cell installations, according to the CTIA, consist of a small radio installation and antennae and is about the size of a pizza box. They can be installed on the side of buildings, streetlights, or on power poles.
A high-density installation of small cells will allow for increased bandwidth as well as a more reliable mobile broadband experience. It’s a market response to an increased demand by consumers of mobile applications that use more and more mobile data.
HB 184 will aid cellular providers to more quickly build-out the 5G network. This legislation should be key in expanding broadband in Georgia…especially in areas of the state where fast, reliable broadband choices tend to be more lean. I certainly hope this makes its way quickly through the legislative process in the Senate and winds up on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk before this legislative session adjourns Sine Die.