Small Wireless Facilities in the Public Rights-of-Way: New State Regulations Impact Municipalities
November 1, 2021
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act (Act 50) which took effect on August 29, 2021. Act 50 addresses the deployment of small wireless facilities, including new utility poles to support the facilities, in the public rights-of-way. The term “small wireless facility” is defined in Act 50 (generally each antenna can’t be more than three cubic feet in volume) and such facilities are permitted by right anywhere in a municipality with the exception of areas where the municipality requires all cable and utility facilities to be located underground. However, the municipality must permit an applicant to seek a waiver from the underground requirement for the installation of a new utility pole to support a facility.