​Overview

Small cell facilities are low powered antennas that are used to supplemental a cellular network, expand cellular coverage, and facilitate the deployment of 5G wireless communication which is considered to be the next wireless evolution beyond current 4G communication. Each small cell facility typically consists of an antenna mounted to a pole, equipment inside a cabinet attached to the pole or mounted inside the pole, and a meter for electric utility purposes.

In September 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a ruling that does not allow cities to prohibit the installation of small cell facilities in the right-of-way. As a result, small cell facilities can be attached to utility poles, street light poles, and traffic signals, or stand-alone poles only used for small cell facilities can be installed. While cities cannot prohibit the installation of small cell facilities, cities can create design standards for the appearance and location of small cell facilities within the right-of-way.

Small Cell Permitting

Prior to obtaining a permit from the city for the installation of a small cell facility in the right-of-way, the owner of the small cell facility must have a Right-of-Way Use Agreement in place with the city. If a Right-of-Way Use Agreement is not in place, please complete the application linked on the right side of this page and submit it by email to trafficengineering@cityofthornton.net.

With a Right-of-Way Use Agreement in place, a wireless service provider or wireless infrastructure company can then apply for small cell permits. In general, the application process for small cell permitting and approval is outlined below. The process is subject to change at the discretion of the city

  • With a Right-of-Way Use Agreement in place, a wireless service provider or wireless infrastructure company can apply for small cell permits.
  • The application submittal is reviewed by designated staff for compliance with the terms of the Right-of-Way Use Agreement, city code, and small cell design guidelines.
  • The application submittal is not considered complete until compliance is achieved.
  • If the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant will be notified and the shot clock will be stopped. The shot clock will reset once a complete application is submitted.
  • Once the application submittal is approved, the small cell facilities are documented in an exhibit and the small cell provider can then apply for a construction permit and a traffic control permit. Construction and traffic control permit applications can be found on the City's permit web page linked on the right side of this page.


More detailed information on the application submittal process and submittal requirements can be found in the Small Cell Design Guidelines linked on the right side of this page. The City may revise, develop new, update, or amend these guidelines from time to time to meet the goals of the City.

 

Featured Links