In a joint letter earlier this month, RCRC, Urban Counties of California (UCC), and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), voiced opposition to Senate Bill 556, authored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), which would require local governments and publicly owned electric utilities to make infrastructure available to communication service providers for the placement of small wireless facilities, with limited allowable compensation to the public owners of that infrastructure.

Specifically, SB 556 requires local governments to implement expedited processing times for the colocation of small wireless facilities from 60-90 days down to 45 days, but also additionally restricts review time for applications of more than 300 attachments to 60 days. Additionally, provisions of the bill make denying an application for the use of public infrastructure, such as streetlights, traffic signals, or other poles, arguably impossible.

SB 556 will not bring universal access to high-speed internet to RCRC member counties, but only increase internet provider profitability in lucrative markets. In fact, this bill further disincentivizing broadband deployment in low-income urban and high-cost rural areas of the state that lack basic and affordable connectivity.

We encourage RCRC members to contact their respective legislators to urge a “no” vote on this legislation. SB 556 is currently awaiting consideration in Assembly Appropriations Committee. The joint letter can be accessed here. For more information, contact Tracy Rhine, RCRC Senior Legislative Advocate, by email or call (916) 447-4806.