Verizon sues Rochester over telecom regulations

Verizon.
Verizon.
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Verizon sues Rochester over telecom regulations

The tech company argues Rochester’s regulations for installing telecom equipment violate federal law.
August 13, 2019

Rochester is not rolling out the welcome mat for Verizon Wireless as the company gears up for next-generation 5G connectivity. That, at least, is the gist of a new lawsuit filed by Verizon Wireless against the city, which argues that Rochester’s regulations for installing telecom equipment – like small cell nodes – violate federal law by imposing non-cost-based fees on the installation and maintenance of such equipment. In February, Rochester City Council enacted new regulations that impose fees on the installation of some cellular equipment, which Verizon argues will inhibit the company from sufficiently “densifying” its wireless network infrastructure in order to build out its 5G network. The city of Rochester maintains that its fees are comparable with what other cities charge, however, and that other providers are complying with the law just fine.

The situation is in sharp contrast to how Syracuse, another mid-sized city upstate, has dealt with the coming 5G revolution. Earlier this year, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh struck a deal to let Verizon install its small cell towers around the city. Despite some pushback from Syracuse Common Council members, the deal went through, ensuring that the city will be at the forefront of U.S. cities embracing the next generation of connectivity. With the city preparing for a technological “Surge,” Syracuse’s embrace of 5G may not be all that surprising.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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