New Cell Tower Regulations
Since 2002, all cell towers in Kenton County have been reviewed with a set of regulations known as Administrative Policy 6 (AP6). This policy is part of KCPC’s bylaws and applies to any new cell tower in Kenton County. Today, however, efforts are underway to modernize this policy to adapt to changing technologies entering the marketplace.
Cell phone technology was tremendously different in 2002 than it is now. When AP6 was written and adopted, cell towers almost solely transmitted voice calls over the network. While texting exited at that time, it wasn’t as popular as it is today, and the demand for mobile data was almost nonexistent. As such, the cell tower infrastructure was mostly provided via tall “macro” cell towers that provided coverage to large swaths of area in the county. These tall towers, or monopoles, are likely what people think of when they think of a “cell tower.”
Since AP6 was first adopted, the telecommunications industry has experienced a paradigm shift with ever-growing demand for personal communications and data services. This increased usage has put a strain on service providers to offer better and faster coverage to every corner of Kenton County. This growing demand has prompted the introduction a new distribution method called small cell systems. These systems are a way to deal with isolated spots of poor coverage and/or capacity within a community.
According to KRS 100.985 to 100.987, new cell towers fall to the Kenton County Planning Commission to review and approve. This state law was drafted at a time when large, freestanding towers were the norm and small cell towers did not exist. Because of these factors, small cell systems are considered towers, just like the large monopoles, by the definitions of state law. Since these laws were drafted to regulate only macro sites, they do not do an adequate job regulating these mini cell towers.
This new technology has led to the current Kenton County regulations being updated. The new regulations will be different in several ways:
- The regulations will be a stand along document (rather than an Administrative Policy), much like the Subdivision Regulations
- The definitions will be updated to reflect the current terminology
- The design and review criteria will be updated
- There will be an entire Article dedicated to small cell systems
In the news
The following websites contain information pertaining to signal coverage. These websites were accessible as of November 11, 2013.