District Department of Transportation

DDOT Small Cell

The introduction of smartphones and other wireless devices and the explosion of their use in the past decade have driven technological advances in the telecommunication infrastructure as demand strains the existing infrastructure. From the needs of individual users to be connected, through the importance of disseminating emergency information to the public and between first responders, reliable wireless telecommunications have become a universal element of everyday life. The telecommunications industry will be deploying infrastructure that will bring 5th Generation (5G) technology to the area via wireless telecommunication antennae and equipment (small cell). On March 21, 2019 the Public Space Committee adopted guidelines for the installation of small cell technology in the District.

The District’s approach aligns with what has been implemented in several jurisdictions across the country and fits within the broad parameters established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This approach includes requiring every company to enter into a Master License Agreement and obtain permits to deploy infrastructure that meets guidelines adopted by each community to reflect that community's priorities for its public space.

The District of Columbia has a history spanning more than two centuries establishing a unique streetscape that sets it apart from any other city in the world. A crucial component of that streetscape is its extensive network of public space. The public space enhances the quality of life for our residents and visitors and ensures that the city has the foundation to become a more walkable and sustainable city. The District’s public space is a valuable and intentional asset that requires careful stewardship to maintain its integrity and safeguard it as a legacy to future generations. This heritage is safeguarded through the work of many agencies, including the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Office and Public Space Committee (among others), and the Federally constituted Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission. Any new use made of that public space must be cognizant of and adapted to the special characteristics of the District of Columbia.

Public Comment and Stakeholder Meetings

The public comment period is now closed.

The Public Space Committee hosted the following meetings: 

Public Space Committee Hearing: March 21, 2019
Public Space Committee Hearing: October 15, 2018

On Monday, October 15, 2018, at 1 pm, the Public Space Committee hosted a special roundtable to consider guidelines for the deployment of Small Cell in the public space.  At the meeting, comments and testimony from all stakeholders were welcome at the meeting, which was held at 1100 4th Street SW in Room 200. 

On Thursday, March 21, 2019, at 1 pm, the Public Space Committee hosted a second special roundtable to consider the second version of the Draft Small Cell Guidelines for the deployment of Small Cell in the public space. At the meeting, comments and testimony were welcome from stakeholders. Amendments were offered and a vote was taken at the conclusion of the hearing. The Small Cell Guidelines, Version 3, was approved and adopted, March 2019.