Privately owned small cell antenna poles within City right-of-way

Minneapolis allows privately owned small cell antenna poles within City right-of-way.

Small cell antennas are pole mounted cellular communication equipment installed and owned by cellular companies. Since 2015, small cell antennas have been installed within City right-of-way (ROW). Initial antenna installations were attached to City owned street lights at existing pole locations. These were typically installed in densely populated areas of the City. In 2017, State Statutes 237.162 and 237.163 enacted regulation of privately-owned antenna infrastructure placement in the ROW. As the antenna network continues to expand, the percentage of privately-owned antenna poles continues to increase. Related City policies and ordinances were adjusted to comply with state statutes. 

Permit process and City role

State Statutes 237.162 and 237.163 and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ruling (FCC 18-133) define volume, height, and placement limitations for small cell wireless facilities. The Public Works Traffic division reviews small cell antenna placements to verify existing ROW transportation functions are preserved and future uses anticipated.

This review includes:

  • sidewalk clearance
  • sight lines for signs or traffic signals
  • ROW boundaries

Cellular company and contractor role

Installation of privately-owned poles has various construction elements. This includes installation of: underground electrical conduit/wiring, underground fiber optic conduit/wiring, pole foundations, and poles with attached antenna equipment. This construction work typically occurs by multiple contractors working within the same project and may take weeks to complete all phases. As part of the process sometimes temporary patches or repairs are made to the sidewalk, boulevard, and roadway area. These temporary patches will be replaced with permanent restoration.

Communication and outreach 

Public Works has recently received an increase of small cell antenna project questions from City residents and business owners near the antenna sites. To better address these requests, the Public Works Traffic division is continuing to communicate with small cell companies to provide guidance on effective information outreach. This includes providing advanced notice of antenna sites, approximate construction timeline, and direct project contact information. 

Map of privately-owned small cell antennas poles with approved permits

 Privately-owned small cell antenna pole locations with approved permits. Antenna locations will be updated weekly.



Caption: Carrier owned small cell antenna pole.

Caption: City street light with small cell antenna attachment. 

 View small cell carrier poles map 

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