AT&T expects to roll out small cell towers in unincorporated Ascension Parish, La., early next year after the parish adopted a new ordinance Thursday that sets up a permitting process for the structures.
The towers are expected to improve the telecommunications giant's wireless service in
The prospect of the new small cell towers in
"The difficulty is we're at the end of the year now. We have been working on this. So some things are probably going to be moving to 2021, but we are ready with a few (towers)," he said.
The towers would support existing 4G LTE service, not 5G.
Due to their low heights and clunky profiles, the towers have sparked controversy in
The new rules govern the placement of the new towers in the parish's rights of way, public land that lines streets throughout
Providers would also have to pay $250 annual fees for continued use of parish rights of way.
The final version of the rules that were adopted by the council Thursday, 9-1, added language that will direct fee revenue to beautification and improvement of parish rights of ways and the road and highway entrances on the parish boundaries and
In the weeks leading up the vote Thursday night, Parish Attorney
Robert tried Thursday night to amend the ordinance to add the light pole language again but a vote on his amendment failed, 3-7. A second motion to defer action on the rules failed to get a second. The final ordinance was adopted with only Robert opposed.
Robert said afterward Thursday that he disagreed with the parish attorney's opinion and believed it wasn't in the spirit of the original federal findings because his proposal would have applied to all telecommunications providers in
Aubrey said a mandatory light requirement would have been discriminatory to telecommunications companies overall compared with other utilities that use parish rights of way. He said
The terms 4G and 5G denote different "generations" of wireless connection and capacity. LTE represents an intermediate step between true 4G and the older, slower 3G service, which had enabled the first major step beyond voice and text to the videos and music now standard on smart phones.
The 5G service is supposed to represent a quantum leap in internet speeds and reliability over even true 4G service, allowing greater networking capabilities and fueling the "internet of things" that is expected to bring advances in a myriad of devices used in daily life, business and industry.
Cellphone makers like iPhone and Android are already rolling out cellphones designed for 5G service. A
One drawback of 5G, however, is that it has limited long-range service and needs more towers than older generations of wireless service.
Other provisions in the proposed
The rules even allow landowners and homeowner associations to submit maps for preferred locations of future towers, but those maps can't bind the parish's ultimate permit decisions.
In 2019, despite fears raised by the expansion of 5G, the FCC and
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