Small Cells Project

General Purpose

Small Cell InstallationThe City has an interest in having a reliable wireless infrastructure network to serve the communication needs of City residents and businesses, and for public services, especially emergency communications and advanced transportation system management.  The telecommunications industry is ever-evolving with more people using smartphones that has led to increased growth in wireless data transfer and increased download speed to meet customer expectations.  The need has grown even greater during the pandemic with the increased demand associated with telework, telehealth, and distance learning. From an economic development perspective, having robust communication services available is important to retaining and attracting industries related to health care services, and autonomous vehicles. Wireless telecommunications providers are deploying more compact, localized “small cell” stations to supplement the shortfalls of traditional macro cell stations.


As wireless communication technology continues to advance, wireless service providers are working to expand 5G networks throughout the United States.  This requires the deployment of small cell technology (small wireless facilities) which will make up the infrastructure of 5G networks and help provide better wireless service coverage throughout the United States.  In September 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a declaratory ruling titled “Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment” to support the proliferation of small cell technology.  The ruling restricts the authority of state and local governments to regulate small wireless facilities, limits fees that can be assessed by municipalities on the review of applications for these facilities, and places new limitations on discretionary aesthetic criteria that cities can apply to these facilities.  The ruling creates a time frame (“shot clock”) for review of the new applications for small wireless facilities.  The City of Fremont is adhering to this Federal regulation to allow Wireless Service Providers to process new applications for small cells within the public right-of-way.


City of Fremont Wireless Communication Activities

In order to comply with a 2018 Federal Communications Commission ruling, the City of Fremont has two executed Master License Agreements (MLA) and is continuing to work with local wireless service providers to allow the installation of small cells on City-owned street lights, excluding poles within historic districts and decorative light poles. The deployment of small cell facilities will improve the speed and reduce gaps in data coverage for our community as providers move to 5G networks, as well as reducing blight in public spaces by ensuring no additional poles are constructed in the public right-of-way


Small Cell Installation 2Federal Regulations

Regulatory Environment

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has historically determined that wireless providers are a utility and, therefore, have all the rights of use of the public right-of-way as any other telecommunications utility under the Public Utilities Code section 7901.  Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission has interpreted the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preempt cities and other local agencies from denying wireless providers access to government-owned structures in the public right-of-way.  As a result, the City can merely regulate the use of the public right-of-way and its facilities in the public right-of-way, rather than prohibiting the use by wireless providers. 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ruling

On September 26, 2018, the FCC issued its Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order in the Matter of Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket Nos. 17-79 and 17-84.

FCC Office of Engineering & Technology (OET) Bulletin 65: Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields

City of Fremont Approval

Status of Small Cell Equipment Permits

Master License Agreements



GIS Map of Planned and Active Small Cell Equipment Locations

Scan the QR Code below

to view on a mobile device


Small Cell Wireless Communications and Your Health

Each small cell site is required to conduct an analysis to show power density levels on the Pole level and Ground level.  The result of each site analysis should conclude that power density levels on the Pole level will not exceed the FCC’s Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limit for Occupational environments. The result of each site analysis should conclude that power density levels in the generally accessible areas on the Ground level will not exceed the FCC’s MPE limit for General Population environments. The equipment and antennas are not considered as generally accessible by the General Population. 


In general, the General Public safe clearance zone for a standard 5G Verizon node antenna is typically 2’ in front and along the sides (Horizontal) of each Verizon panel antenna, and anywhere within 4’ below or above (Vertical) of Verizon panel antenna’s centerline.  The antennas are typically located above 20’ the ground level. 


The Occupational safe clearance zone for a standard 5G Verizon node antenna is typically 1’ in front and along the sides (Horizontal) of each Verizon panel antenna, and anywhere within 1’ below or above (Vertical) of Verizon's panel antenna’s centerline.


Each site will operate in general compliance with FCC OET Bulletin 65 mentioned above (link provided under FCC Regulations section).

Contact Information

Homira Shafaq
(510) 494-4780