8/10/20 update is designated in green
11/24/20 update is designated in blue
5G small cell towers are proposed to be installed in many neighborhoods across Fishers. Each week, there are dozens of locations being evaluated and finalized for installation. The City of the Fishers has prepared good information for residents on the 5G webpage. I’m trying my best to keep this running list of neighborhoods that have completed the 5G tower location approval with the Board of Public Works & Safety. You can review the map of the current proposed locations in Fishers (active permits).
What’s 5G? 5G refers to the 5th generation mobile network. You may have heard of 3G and 4G before. Well, 5G is the newest wireless technology designed to deliver much faster speeds for devices and new technology. The kicker is that 5G requires many new small cell towers installed much closer together, in addition to regular large cell towers that are miles apart. Bottom line: 5G small cell towers will be installed near you, probably several in your neighborhood. Here’s what you need to know.
1. What does a small cell tower look like? Over 100 have been installed in Fishers so far. Generally, they look like this.
2. Where can these small cell towers be placed in Fishers? Most have been placed on major thoroughfares. But many proposed new tower locations are within Fishers neighborhoods. The small cell towers will not be placed on private property. Instead, they will be placed in the City’s right-of-way, which is public property. In a neighborhood, the right-of-way is defined as the street, curb, grass between the street and the sidewalk, and the sidewalk. Private property begins behind the right-of-way, between the sidewalk and the dwelling.
3. Can the City of Fishers halt the installation of 5G in our community? No, the City’s regulatory authority with respect to the deployment of 5G infrastructure is largely preempted by federal law. City of Fishers cannot regulate wireless telecommunication. The City and all local governments, are required to comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. All wireless devices installed in the City of Fishers must meet all FCC regulatory requirements.
Because of federal law, the City of Fishers cannot even entertain concerns about the health and safety of 5G. However, the City of Fishers can request that a proposed 5G tower location be adjusted so it is more pleasing to nearby residents. The City of Fishers has already made those requests to providers (like Verizon, AT&T, etc.) to improve locations to be most thoughtful to neighbors. The locations are initially proposed by the providers for technology needs and service coverage.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already deemed 5G to not to be a safety/health hazard. Therefore, the City of Fishers can’t overturn the FCC’s findings. To learn more about 5G safety, visit City of Fishers’ “Is It Safe” webpage
Also, visit the FCC’s RF Safety FAQ webpage and read ARE WIRELESS CELLULAR AND PCS TOWERS AND ANTENNAS SAFE? I find that the clearest statement here is this: “Measurements made near typical cellular and PCS installations, especially those with tower-mounted antennas, have shown that ground-level power densities are hundreds to thousands of times less than the FCC’s limits for safe exposure. This makes it extremely unlikely that a member of the general public could be exposed to RF levels in excess of FCC guidelines due solely to cellular or PCS base station antennas located on towers or monopoles.”
I also have found this website to be a good resource for information about 5G concerns: www.pause5g.org
4. What is the process for small cell tower locations to be selected and installed in Fishers? The City of Fishers Board of Public Works & Safety is responsible for considering each residential permit for a 5G small cell tower. In August, the approval process was revised, as detailed on this adopted resolution. The current 5G tower location approval process is reliant upon the Home Owners Association to advocate the neighborhood’s location preferences and negotiate with the provider.
- First, the HOA will be notified by the City when a provider has applied for a 5G tower location in the neighborhood via email.
- Residents who live only within 200 feet of a proposed small cell town location will be notified 2-3 weeks prior to the Board of Public Works & Safety meeting when that location will be reviewed. These nearby residents will be notified by mail from the City of Fishers and instructed to contact their HOA.
- A meeting will be scheduled between the provider (i.e, Verizon) and the HOA. These meetings will be a conversation between Verizon and the HOA to negotiate to find locations that are mutually acceptable. Meetings will be held virtually while there are COVID concerns. This meeting with Verizon and the HOA is also attended by City staff members. The meeting takes place before consideration at a Board of Public Works meeting.
- At the Board of Public Works Meeting, the locations are reviewed and the outcome of the HOA meeting is discussed. Hopefully, the HOA and Verizon have come to a good compromise and both parties are agreeable on the proposed locations. The Board of Public Works and Safety can vote to accept the proposed locations or table them until a more agreeable location is determined.
Denied locations seem like a rare outcome. The reason locations are denied is because they failed to meet either specification found in the Board’s Residential Waiver Procedure: (i) § (C)(2)(d)- New utility poles should, to the greatest extent possible, be located at or near intersections, right-of-way adjacent to common areas, entrances of neighborhoods, or be utilized to replace existing light facilities within a neighborhood; and/or (ii) § (C)(4) – When considering each waiver, the City shall consider the general welfare of its community, including, without limitation input received from adjacent property owner(s) through its community or neighborhood association. The City shall be especially mindful of community input when considering a waiver within any residentially zoned area of the City.
You can review the map of proposed locations (active permits).
5. How can I learn more about 5G? Reach out to your Home Owners Association in your neighborhood, if you have one. The leadership of your HOA should register with the City of Fishers via email. The HOA needs to provide accurate contact information so that communication from the City is successful. The City will notify registered HOAs when a small cell tower is proposed in the HOA’s jurisdiction.
Also, please visit:
-City of Fishers 5G webpage
-Fishers 5G FAQs
-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 5G FAQs
-FCC FAST Plan (April 2019)
-FCC video (April 2019)
I will continue to update this information as I learn more about 5G in Fishers.
Additional Resource: Larry In Fishers, “Fishers Moves Forward with 5G with Limited Legal Authority,” 3/10/20