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Rauner signs 5G wireless bill

Friday, Apr 13, 2018

* Press release from late yesterday afternoon…

Today Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 1451 to standardize and streamline regulation of small wireless cell facilities, paving the way for 5G wireless and other technology in Illinois.

“This legislation sends a strong, competitive message that Illinois is open for business. We want to make Illinois a leader in wireless technology. We are working to grow jobs and our economy and set our community up for future success,” Rauner said.

Small cells are lower-profile wireless signal alternatives to traditional cell towers that can be attached to existing structures. Their deployment will help lay the foundation required to support the technologies of the future, such as the next generation wireless systems known as 5G.

Besides faster internet and devices, Accenture has forecast that 5G and smart cities investments will create nearly 100,000 jobs and bring in nearly $9 billion in investment to Illinois over the next seven years.

“We are building a future where our economy booms, job creation soars and our Midwest neighbors watch in amazement as Illinois takes the lead in innovation, job growth and economic opportunity,” Rauner said.

“As technology continues to advance and smartphone data use continues to increase, it’s important that we have the infrastructure in place to support those advancements,” said Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), who sponsored the legislation. “This measure will help ensure a smooth transition to 5G and allow Illinois to stay at the forefront of new wireless technology.”

“The Small Cell Wireless Bill ensures that consumers in Illinois stay on the forefront of wireless technology,” said Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard). “Illinoisans will now have greater access to 5G technology, allowing for more data to be transferred faster than ever before.”

“As demand grows, small cells can help bring Illinois consumers a faster and more efficient wireless internet experience. This legislation is a balanced approach to making progress for technology advancements in our state,” said Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Oak Lawn).

“I’m glad that we were able to work in a collaborative and bipartisan way to meet the growing public demand for improved technology that will assist consumers and business development, while making us competitive with neighboring states,” said Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy).

Wireless demand is expected to increase five times by 2022.

“This legislation will benefit businesses, employers and job seekers throughout our state, while providing valuable services for our citizens. Wireless technology is essential for small and start-up businesses that are the core of our economy. We are happy the Governor and the General Assembly made this step forward for our community,” said President & CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Larry D. Ivory.

Small cell technology will help provide Illinoisans with faster download speeds, improved call quality and support Telemedicine, connected cars, distance learning, smart homes, smart farms and Smart Cities, creating a more connected network across the state.

“Innovative and life changing technologies coming from shop floors across Illinois play a central role in creating manufacturing jobs and maintaining our competitive advantage in the global marketplace,” said Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Manufacturers Association Mark Denzler. “We applaud Governor Bruce Rauner and lawmakers who recognize that manufacturing is very technology-infused and technology-driven today. This new law will keep Illinois on the leading edge and provide opportunities for manufacturers to compete in the current period of innovation known as Industry 4.0.”

The bill will also help improve wireless service in areas where large cell towers are not the best solution.

“This is about communities across Illinois – ensuring they have access to cutting edge technology and equal opportunity to compete for jobs in tomorrow’s economy,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Todd Maisch.

The bill still ensures local governments retain their role and authority in the permitting process of telecommunications equipment by allowing them to exercise their zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authorities within their territorial boundaries, including with respect to wireless support structures and utility poles.

“Illinois retailers need next generation telecommunications infrastructure to provide the customized offerings and services our customers expect. The same infrastructure other states and much of the world already enjoys,” said President & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Rob Karr. “This legislation makes that possible and propels Illinois into the 21st Century. We applaud Governor Rauner and the members of the General Assembly for making this possible.”

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont have already passed similar technology legislation.

The Illinois bill will compensate local governments at a higher rate than any other state’s small cell law.

* AP

But local municipalities across the state oppose the proposal. They say it is a handout to big businesses and will lead to higher taxes for residents.

The legislation affects all areas of the state except the city of Chicago. Ohio and Texas have also passed similar measures.


The legislation boosts “small cell technology” that will expand 5G service to many more locations around the state.

But it caps the rates that local governments can charge companies who want to install those towers… and Springfield officials say that’s an unfair limit on the city’s publicly-owned utility.

* Springfield’s Mayor Jim Langfelder

First - the bill usurps municipal authority of public infrastructure for private profits. Currently wireless companies have agreements with local governments for small cell installations or they can pay for their own cell tower infrastructure. This bill is just an end around to create greater profits for the wireless companies on the backs of municipalities and taxpayers.

Second - the bill is another hit to municipalities’ budgets. This year the State implemented a sales tax administration fee and reduced the city’s portion of the state income tax. Those changes for the City of Springfield are projected to reduce revenues by over $2 million. This bill eliminates the City’s ability to properly recover ongoing costs associated with installing and maintaining public infrastructure.

Third - the bill preempts home-rule. By eliminating the rights of home-rule, you are essentially opening “Pandora’s Box” which would allow other industries to do the same. The bill should honor the exemption of home-rule municipalities.

Finally - the City of Springfield is unique in that we have our own municipally owned utility (CWLP) from which we generate and distribute electricity and water. During the extremely difficult two-year state budget impasse, we kept the lights and water on while outstanding bills peaked at approximately $15 million.

They should probably tweak this law for Springfield and a few other towns, but overall I think this is a good piece of legislation.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 9:48 am:

    Surprising. I was sure he would use his amendatory veto, dropping the “G.”

  2. - Anon414 - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 9:57 am:

    Springfield and other municipalities are ticked because the legislation places caps on the fees they can charge carriers for erecting small cell boxes on street and utility polls.

  3. - Henry Francis - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    “We are building a future where our economy booms, job creation soars and our Midwest neighbors watch in amazement as Illinois takes the lead in innovation, job growth and economic opportunity,” Rauner said.

    He is sounding more and more like Trump everyday.

    Or neighbors will watch in amazement? Who buys this schtick?

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    –Who buys this schtick?–

    26% of the people, all of the time.

  5. - Colin O'Scopy - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    =will lead to higher taxes for residents=

    That’s what they say whenever they want to kill a good thing. But let’s be honest, if Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Edison wanted to buildout their new telephone and electric grids in today’s environment, and have to get past municipal entities with their hands out, 2/3 of Illinois would be in the dark without plain old telephone service!

  6. - ITEngineer - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 11:10 am:

    What access to 5G? This is just about granting more availability for small site access points and using government resources to hype another Telecom middle step cash grab. There isn’t infrastructure or devices that are available to even use it at specification. Anything available is just 4G+ like what they did with 3G+ before converting to LTE. They really need to just place all R&D into Terahertz.

  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 13, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    Chicago is already deploying it today. This law has the highest fees in the nation but the greedy cities want to shake down companies for up to 10x what is paid elsewhere.

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