Continuing efforts to ensure more Pennsylvanians have access to better communications services, the General Assembly has passed a new law to help facilitate expansion of 5G technology in the Commonwealth.
Act 50 of 2021, known as the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, provides protections to local governments in terms of aesthetics and limits on the number of applications that can be filed at a time while also helping provide a path for mobile connectivity buildout. A municipality can deny a permit if it creates a safety hazard for motorists or pedestrians, or it violates provisions in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Local governments can also create aesthetic guidelines for small wireless facilities, so long as they do not effectively prohibit their installation, which parallels federal guidelines.
With the Federal Communications Commission having pledged $368 million to bring improved communications technology to the Commonwealth, as well as $9 billion specifically for bringing 5G technology to rural areas of the country, the new law helps ensure the state is ready to take advantage of the opportunity to better meet the communications needs of all Pennsylvanians.