New Delaware law paves way for smart-city tech - Technical.ly Delaware

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Sep. 5, 2017 12:11 pm

New Delaware law paves way for smart-city tech

Gov. Carney signed into law a bill that makes it easier to build the antennas behind 5G wireless and autonomous transportation.

The First State is eyeing a high-tech upgrade to its wireless infrastructure.

(Photo by Flickr user Mike Mozart, used under a Creative Commons license)

Our cities in Delaware may soon be getting smarter. Or at least they’ll have better wireless coverage.

The Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Investment Act, formerly HB Bill 189, was signed into law by Gov. John Carney on Aug. 31. What it does, basically, is reduce the red tape when it comes to installing small-cell wireless antennas — smaller, more versatile alternatives to wireless towers that can be installed on telephone poles, traffic lights and street lamps.

These antennas will be necessary as 5G technologysmart city data analysis and autonomous transportation become increasingly common.

Wireless carrier AT&T praised the move, which makes Delaware one of a handful of states with laws that make small cell installation easier.

“With Governor Carney’s signature on this bill, Delaware took another step toward the future. The Governor recognizes that a strong mobile broadband infrastructure is important to the state’s continued economic competitiveness and leadership,” Denis Dunn, president of AT&T in Delaware, said in a press release. “We applaud everyone who worked on this legislation, including Senator Nicole Poore and Rep. Larry Mitchell, along with officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation.”

The bill in Delaware was met with little opposition, but not everyone is in love with the idea of small-cell antennas.

In states like Maryland and Pennsylvania, residents have opposed similar bills out of concerns that the boxes would be ugly and a potential health hazard. (The American Cancer Society says “cell phone towers are not known to cause any health effects,” though the effects of 5G are less known.) And as cities become “smarter,” they open unprecedented privacy issues.

If Delaware wants to stick with the plan to be a center of innovation, though, its infrastructure laws need to keep pace with evolving technology.

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