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Security Measure

Small cell antennas installed on street lights

Small cell antennas installed on street lights
Posted on 02/16/2021

Small cell antennas are a targeted way for cellular and data providers to enhance 4G service in specific areas and prepare to provide 5G service. The City of Lenexa has received more than 100 applications for these, with the majority being installed within the I-435 loop. 

These small cell antennas are installed by private service providers. Most installed in Lenexa belong to Verizon. 

As many of the antennas are being installed on City-owned streetlights, service providers must apply for a right-of-way permit to install them. Staff review the applications and inspect streetlights that had to be replaced to accommodate the weight of the equipment.

While we receive calls from residents concerned about the location and radio frequency levels of these antennas, the City’s ability to regulate these issues is severely limited under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FFC) 5G “FAST” Plan, approved in September 2018. Local governments can’t regulate small cell infrastructure in a way that prohibits the provision of personal wireless services and must make any application denials in writing supported by substantial evidence. 

The plan also preempts local decision premised on the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions, but the antennas are required to comply with the FCC’s existing radio frequency rules. 

To learn more about the FCC’s rules on small cell infrastructure, visit FCC.gov/5G.


Published February 19, 2021