Nebraska needs an infrastructure that can deliver all of the benefits of a high-speed, wireless network

Nebraska takes pride in being able to compete with the coasts and wants young people to come here and stay here. In order to do that, the state needs a comparable technology infrastructure that can deliver all of the benefits of a high-speed, wireless network.

That’s why we need to pass Legislative Bill 389.

This important legislation would modernize, streamline and standardize statewide rules governing the deployment of small cell technology. In our experience, ambiguous local requirements and ordinances are among the biggest impediments to delivering wireless broadband more widely to more people. Trying to interpret and comply with a patchwork quilt of different local requirements can slow implementation to a crawl.

LB 389 would not only clarify the standards on a statewide basis but would also ensure that local governments retain authority, oversight and local revenue streams while at the same time facilitating the deployment of small cells.

Efforts to derail this vital, common sense legislation would significantly hurt the state’s economy and put Nebraska at a competitive disadvantage in attracting industries, educators, healthcare providers and technology innovators to the Silicon Prairie. And they have no concrete reasons for doing so.

Small cells are compact, unobtrusive devices that attach to existing utility poles, light poles or traffic lights.

These handy little devices complement large cell towers to give them an added boost to bring the power of the wireless network closer to users. Small cells deliver increased data capacity, faster connectivity speeds and an overall better wireless experience. That means when people are using their wireless devices to call their mother, binge watch movies, work, text, access social media and web surf, they can do so more quickly and easily with less interruption, loss of signal or delays.

Small cells will help pave the way for 5G and for future developments in technologies. Bolstering network capacity and expanding access to faster mobile internet speeds will help deliver new opportunities in areas like connected cars, smart cities, distance learning and telemedicine.

Other benefits to state and local governments include:

Public Safety: Wireless broadband connectivity is critical for Next Generation 911, and to providing our first responders with the most up-to-date communications technology.

Consumer Demand: Consumers want better access to information and service, including real-time traffic information, “smart parking,” and good government apps.

Jobs and Infrastructure: Increased technology infrastructure means more jobs and economic growth to communities. Small cell deployment will help cities become more efficient and support their growth into smart cities

Environmental: Smart city technology and apps will lower energy use and CO2 with more efficient lighting and traffic controls.

Greater Wireless Network Capacity: Greater wireless capacity can meet consumers’ growing needs.

LB 389 will enable Nebraska to keep pace with neighbors such as Iowa, Kansas and Colorado, who have already set policy to encourage small cell deployment. Nebraska has a chance to join these states as well as others across the country who are increasingly passing small cell laws to enhance high-speed wireless internet access and prepare for the introduction of 5G.

LB 389 is a much-needed legislative solution that would spur the deployment of small cells, promote economic development and investment in the state and position Nebraska to benefit from the next generation of wireless services.

Best regards,

Dustin Blythe
Director — External Affairs
AT&T Nebraska and Iowa

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