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Council considers small-cell code update

 

WALLA WALLA, Washington – The Walla Walla City Council will take public comments Wednesday as work begins on adopting updates to the city’s municipal code relating to small wireless facilities for cellular phone companies.

Small cell facilities contain radios and antennas as well as require power and fiber optics in order to transmit cellular phone and data signals. Typically, small cells are attached to existing utility or light and traffic signal poles within the rights-of-way but can be located on private property. The purpose of the small cells is to increase coverage in dense, urban areas.

“The idea is they allow the companies to provide uninterrupted coverage, so you don’t have these empty spaces that are blocked by something between the cell tower and where you are,” Mayor Barbara Clark said. “They provide better coverage.”

Small cell technology is the deployment technology of choice that telecommunications companies are moving toward in order to provide broader bandwidth, more data capacity and the eventual deployment of a “5G” network.

According to Clark, this is being federally mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. The new FCC regulations went into effect Jan. 14. Clark said there is some flexibility as to what can and cannot be done within the city limits of Walla Walla, but emphasized it’s not a question of when it will happen, but how it will happen.

Today’s city council meeting is scheduled to be at 7 p.m. at the Green Park Elementary School auditorium/cafeteria, 1105 E. Isaacs Avenue, if weather permits.

Prior to the city council meeting a community open house will be held at 6 p.m. to allow residents to learn more about the new council election system, a partial ward election system that divides the city into four sections.

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