Small Cell infrastructure is regulated under both state and federal law. Colorado state law was amended in 2017 by House Bill 1193 to create a use-by-right for small cell facilities in any zone district and shortens the time frame within which the City must act on an application for a small cell facility to 60 or 90 days. It also gives providers the right to locate or collocate small cell facilities on a City’s lights poles, traffic signals, and similar infrastructure in the City’s rights-of-way.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has numerous regulations that local governments must follow, leaving very little room for municipalities like Aspen to regulate the wireless carriers on where they install the technology, how dense the small towers are, and how long Aspen has to respond to an application for installation. Federal Communications Commission rules allow for very dense deployment of the technology in municipal rights-of-way anywhere in the United States.
In 2018, the FCC removed regulatory barriers that would have allowed local governments more control over the deployment of necessary small cell infrastructure. The ruling is entitled: Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment. The ruling is currently facing legal challenges by several local governments.