5G Cell Tower Deployment

5G is the “fifth generation” of cellular networks. Hailed as a major technological breakthrough, 5G has the potential to provide peak download and upload speeds comparable to fiber connectivity, together with real-time responsiveness, while connecting a multitude of devices simultaneously.  Additionally, 5G is intended to support new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and other use cases that will require near real-time connectivity.

Many 5G networks are created by installing multiple small cells, which complement large cell towers to provide seamless coverage.  Small cells are frequently attached to utility poles, light poles, or buildings, and work collectively to create radio access networks (“RAN”) and transmit data via electromagnetic radio waves (radio frequency energy). The cells have a much shorter transmission range than traditional cell towers (typically 500 to 1,000 ft).  

In contrast to the longer wavelengths associated with older wireless technologies (i.e., 3G and 4G), which allow macro-towers to be separated by miles, 5G will rely on shorter millimeter wavelengths that travel only short distances, and therefore require that small cell facilities be placed closer together. 

Can deployment of 5G be halted during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Probably not. The Department of Homeland Security issued guidance on March 30, 2020 which provided that engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber optic cables, buried conduit, small cells, other wireless facilities, and other communications sector-related infrastructure are essential workforce. This includes construction of new facilities and deployment of new technology as these are required to address congestion or customer usage due to unprecedented use of remote services. Moreover, the FCC has provided that there are extremely limited scenarios in which emergency moratoria on 5G deployment would be permissible to protect the public safety and welfare (i.e., when power lines are down, local government may need to limit access to rights-of-way until the effected area can be restored). For more information see Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

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Why 5G?

The demand and need for high-speed data connectivity from residents, businesses, and visitors is on the rise with no end in sight. 5G is the latest approach to increase wireless capacity for smartphones and internet service.

Fishers continues its emergence as a leader and innovator. It is this type of innovation that will enable residents to experience gigabit speeds that were previously only available via costly fiber. The City plays an important role and is actively working to streamline the development processes and effectively and efficiently pave the way for innovators to implement technologies that will drive economic vitality and close access barriers and gaps to serve our diverse communities. Technologies like 5G promise to revolutionize the daily lives of people.

*Newly proposed facilities must adhere to the City’s reasonable aesthetic requirements. For example, facilities deployed along our major thoroughfares will generally match City infrastructure.

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5G Cell Tower Deployment

Find more info and FAQ’s about 5G Cell Tower Deployment in Fishers. The City has refined its process for 5G cell tower deployment. On August 10, 2020 the Public Works and Safety Board adopted a resolution streamlining the process for all parties involved. Below is highlighted from the resolution that outlines the new process. 

The following neighborhoods will be brought before the Board of Public Works on Monday, November 23 with HOA approval. Please check the agenda prior to the meeting to ensure your neighborhood will be represented.

  • River Highlands – R101520L
  • Weaver Woods North – R112320 – met on October 30
  • Bluestone – R112320 – met on November 6
  • Harrison Woods – R112320 – met on November 6

 City Review

(a) Determination of Completion/Defects. Within ten (10) days of receipt of an application, the permit authority shall review the application to determine if the application is complete. If the permit authority determines that an application is not complete, the permit authority shall notify the applicant in writing of all defects in the application. An applicant that receives a written notice of incompletion may cure the defects and resubmit the application within fifteen (15) days of receiving the notice. If an applicant is unable to cure the defects within the fifteen (15) day period, the applicant shall notify the permit authority of the additional time the applicant requires to cure the defects.

Upon receiving a complete application, the City will inform the effected neighborhood/community association or property management group of a proposed permit(s). The City will coordinate a meeting to facilitate communication between the Applicant and neighborhood/community association or property management group to collaborate and provide feedback on proposed locations, suggest alternative locations for the Applicant’s consideration, and attempt to reach consensus prior to final consideration by the Permit Authority in general accordance with the following timeline:

  1. 4 Weeks Prior to Permit Authoritys Consideration: The City will contact the applicable community/ neighborhood association or property management group to establish a mandatory meeting between it and the Applicant.
  2. 4 Weeks Prior to Permit Authoritys Consideration: The City will send letters to property owners who are within 200’ of a proposed new utility pole and direct these residents to work with their community/neighborhood association or property management group to provide comments or concerns.
  3. 2 Weeks Prior to Permit Authoritys Consideration: The City will host a meeting (virtual or live) with the Applicant, applicable community/neighborhood association or property management group to discuss the proposed residential locations and any alternative locations proposed by the community/neighborhood association or property management group. The City will document these meetings and provide a summary of its content to the Permit Authority. The parties’ failure to reach consensus during the meeting will result in the Permit Authority making its final determination based upon the standards outlined herein.
  4. Permit Authoritys Final Consideration. The Residential Waiver will generally be considered within 4 weeks of the Applicant’s submission of a complete waiver application.

Active Permits

See the map of active permits.

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Find answers to frequently asked questions about 5G small cell tower deployment.

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Neighborhood/HOA Registration

Neighborhood or Homeowners Associations may register to be notified by US Mail of any application for construction or placement of Small Cell facilities on new utility poles or support structures within the Association’s jurisdiction. To register, please email your Neighborhood/Homeowners Association mailing address and contact information.


Find information about the partnership which allows telecommunications providers to deploy this technology on city-owned facilities (i.e., traffic lights, signal poles, buildings).

Applicable Laws


Fishers Pole Designs