City of Tucson sWTF Frequently Asked Questions — Corrected

Link to 934-Communications-Act-up-to-date.pdf — pgs. 92-93


SEC. 251. [47 U.S.C. 251] INTERCONNECTION.


(6) COLLOCATION.–The duty to provide, on rates, terms, and conditions that are just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory, for physical collocation of equipment necessary for interconnection or access to unbundled network elements at the premises of the local exchange carrier, except that the carrier may provide for virtual collocation if the local exchange carrier demonstrates to the State commission that physical collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space limitations

Title 47 Code of Federal Regulations

47 CFR §1.6002 — Definitions.

(g) Collocation, consistent with §1.1320(d) and the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement (NPA) for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas, appendix B of this part, section I.B, means –

   (1) Mounting or installing an antenna facility on a pre-existing structure; and/or

   (2) Modifying a structure for the purpose of mounting or installing an antenna facility on that structure.

   (3) The definition of “collocation” in §1.6100(b)(2) applies to the term as used in that section.

47 CFR §1.1320(d) — Definitions.

Collocation means the mounting or installation of an antenna on an existing tower, building or structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes, whether or not there is an existing antenna on the structure.

[82 FR 58758, Dec. 14, 2017]

47 CFR §1.6100(b)(2) — Definitions.

§ 1.6100 Wireless Facility Modifications.

  • (b) Definitions.

    • (2) Collocation. The mounting or installation of transmission equipment on an eligible support structure for the purpose of transmitting and/or receiving radio frequency signals for communications purposes.

[80 FR 1269, Jan. 8, 2015. Redesignated and amended at 83 FR 51886, Oct. 15, 2018; 85 FR 78018, Dec. 3, 2020]

Link to City of Tucson so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) – FAQs and Information . . . Corrected here.

“The City of Tucson is required by the laws of the State of Arizona to xxx_approve_??? small cell pole installations in established rights-of-way.”

Accurate quote from AZ HB.2365:

” §9-593 F. 1 [An Authority] shall . . .

  • accept applications for,
  • process [this means yes/no decisions allowed per local requirements]
  • and issue permits [once local conditions are met]
  • to collocate small wireless facilities.”


Wire Tucson: This doesn’t mean the City must agree to the construction of new sWTF poles, yet that has been the predominant outcome in Tucson, to date.

There is another way for Tucson. . .



This requirement . . .

Wire Tucson: (accurately stated in the quote above, not as stated in the previous sentence)

is detailed in the Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. 9.591 though A.R.S. 9.599. This law dictates to all jurisdictions how small cell applications in the right-of-way are to be processed. The Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) reviews all small cell applications for adherence to the requirements and limitations prescribed under the State law.

Wire Tucson: What about adherence to federal law? That is a requirement, as well . . . 1996-TCA, ADA, FHA, NEPA and more . . .

State law requires that all small cell pole installations meet all adopted safety codes.

Wire Tucson: Just meet the adopted safety codes or deliver actual public safety? There is a difference between the two. Also, what, exactly are the adopted safety codes to which this sentence refers?

In essence, when a small cell application is received, the City xxx_shall approve??? the installation of the small cell pole as prescribed by State Law.

Wire Tucson: No, that is not what state law HB.2365 says . . . see the quote above. The City can set its regulations as conditions for approval under cooperative federalism.

View the street light map that includes planned and in place small cell poles so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs).

Wire Tucson: Does this map have sufficient information? Is it up-to-date? How does the public know? (we cannot find any answers to any of these reasonable questions at this time)

The City of Tucson receives applications and plans for new cellular antenna sites. Cellular antennae that are mounted in two basic ways:

  1. Macro Cell sites: Many large antennas mounted on tall towers, typically on private property, and on top of buildings.
  2. Small Cell sites: Antennas no larger than a total of 6 cubic feet in volume (the antennas could be much, much smaller, less than a ½ foot in volume) mounted on small cell utility poles, light poles and free-standing poles that are between 25-50 feet in height.
Wire Tucson: Since the definition of a “Small Wireless Facility” in FCC Order 18-30 was vacated by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, DC Circuit on August 9, 2019 (in the Ruling on Case 18-1129, Keetoowah et al. v FCC, for a “Small Wireless Facility” and was not subsequently properly-established in FCC Order 19-1024 in WT Docket No. 17-79, the FCC has no definition of a Small Wireless Telecommunications Facility (sWTF) and, therefore treats sWTFs as the same as WTFs of any size or any “G”. Accordingly, Ms. Garnet Hanly, Division Chief of the Competition & Infrastructure Policy Division, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau clarified the following on Oct 19, 2020:

“The FCC when it modified its rules [Title 47, C.F.R. §1.1312(e) by its October 2019 Order that became effective on Dec 5, 2019], after the DC Circuit issued its mandate [in its Ruling of Case No. 18-1129 Keetoowah v FCC] we took the position that we were reviewing Small Wireless Facilities as [Federal] undertakings and major Federal actions, pursuant to the DC Circuit decision and that is what we’ve been doing.”




1. When a complaint comes in with health concerns regarding the small cell . . . is NOT even a question.

Given that there is evidence — already in the City of Tucson public record here and here — of negative health consequences from electromagnetic pollution caused by so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) , then what should the City of Tucson do to ensure it delivers actual public safety?

As the City of Tucson does not and cannot, under state and federal law, regulate small cell wireless technology based on health concerns . . .

Wire Tucson: This statement is false propaganda and misstates both the federal and state laws. This is what the Federal 1996 Telecommmunications act actually says:

Title 47 §332(c)(7)(B)(iv): “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.”

No mention of health “concerns” or health effects anywhere in Title 47 §332(c)(7)(B)(iv). The difference between “concerns: and effects is further explained here.

A “concern” is not based on substantial evidence, but an “effect” is based on substantial evidence . . .

  • concern (noun) :: an uneasy state of blended interest, uncertainty, and apprehension
  • effect (noun) :: something produced by an agent or cause; a result, outcome or consequence

the following Federal and World Health Organization resources are provided to answer questions:

Wire Tucson: The three links, above have nothing to do with the World Health Organization; they are from the FCC and the FDA, two of the US Regulatory Agencies that are the most captured by the industries they presumably regulate. For some scientifically-established guidance, try these links, instead:

  • Link to $30 million US Govt.’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) Study establishing clear evidence of brain cancer, heart cancer and DNA damage from RF-EMR exposures
  • Link to World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s classification of RF-EMR exposures from any source as a Group 2B Carcinogen (mongraph)
  • Link to Ramazzini Instititute study of RF-EMR exposure from wireless infrastructure (replicates results from the NTP)

2. Will the small cell pole include a light?

When a small cell pole replaces an existing street light, a light will be replaced as part of the pole. If a brand new pole is added that did not previously exist, a light will not be included.

3. Who installs the poles and what is their purpose?

The small cell poles currently being installed in the City are by [agents for] AT&T and Verizon. At this point, AT&T is installing only 4G small cells. It should be anticipated that these will be upgraded to include 5G. Verizon installs both 4G and 5G [on its] small cells. The purpose of these small cell poles is reported to be for in home WiFi and streaming services and to provide a first responder private communication network called FirstNet.

Wire Tucson: The stated purpose of the 1996-Act is as follows (pdf):

  • From page 1 of the pdf: “For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio . . . for the purpose of the national defense, for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communication.”
  • From page 177 of the pdf: SEC. 332. [47 U.S.C. 332] MOBILE SERVICES. “(a) . . . the Commission shall consider, consistent with section 1 of this Act, whether such actions will (1) promote the safety of life and property;”
  • There is preemption only for personal wireless services which is defined as “commercial mobile services, unlicensed wireless services, and common carrier wireless exchange access services” — in other words only wireless phone calls as clarified in the Oct 1, 2019 DC Circuit Ruling in Mozilla et al. v FCC.

4. How does the state regulate small cell poles?

In 2018, the Arizona State Legislature adopted Chapter 5 – PUBLIC UTILITIES, Article 8 – Use of Public Highways by Wireless Providers (A.R.S. 9-591 thru 9-599). This law removes local jurisdiction discretionary approval of the placement location of small cell poles in City owned right-of-way, limits the fees that can be charged, and establishes a “shot clock” whereby if the City does not approve a location within a specified time frame, it shall be automatically approved. Small cell poles on private property and publicly owned property, exclusive of City owned right-of-way, are not governed under this State law.

5. How are these different from cell towers?

Small cell poles differ from cell towers. Small cell poles are about the size of streetlights installed around Tucson. Macro Cell Towers are extremely tall poles with many cellular antennas. Cell Towers still require Zoning Code approval by the Planning & Development Services Department.

Wire Tucson: Not exactly. Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any “G” come in all kinds of sizes, vertical offsets from the ground, horizontal offsets from areas accessible to people and maximum power output levels. It is far too simplistic to imply that “smaller” in dimension means anything without also considering the three key variables of VHP — Vertical, Horizontal and Power. So-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (sWTFs) have been professionally measured to transmit over 25 million times more power into a second-story bedroom, than from a properly sited Macro Cell tower that is 2,500 feet away (horizontal) with antennas 200 feet off the ground (vertical). This excessive radiated power sickened the three-year- and six-year-old girls within three weeks of powering on the so-called “small” WTF.

6. How are small cell poles regulated by the City?

Small cell poles are processed through the Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM).

Wire Tucson: So-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities are currently insuffficiently regulated by the City of Tucson causing unnecessary harms to public safety, privacy and property values.

7. How do I find out about existing and planned poles in my neighborhood?

On the small cell pole web page is a link where you can view the street light map that includes planned and in place small cell poles.There are two symbols used to identify small cell pole locations on the street light map; the symbols represent locations that indicate “Small-Cell Reserved” and “Small-Cell Pole”. The “Small-Cell Reserved” sites are added when a cellular company submits plans for a small cell and pays their initial fees. This status remains even after a permit has been issued. The actual construction start is often six months to a year or more after. This is largely due to a shortage of material and or contractors to perform the work. The “Small-Cell Pole” indicator is added once construction is scheduled to start.

Contact Transportation and Mobility
DTM is dedicated to continuously improving communications regarding the construction of small cell poles in the City.

Wire Tucson: That’s good to know. Please show such dedication by removing the misleading Wireless industry propaganda from this page and present only accurate, balanced and factual information about both the benefits and detriments of so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facilities.

The department understands the constituent needs to be informed. Please contact the DTM customer service representatives by email at, or by phone at (520) 791-4371 should you have any questions.

Wire Tucson: The public will need a full, accurate and updated spreadsheet of all sWTFs in Tucson with manufacturer names and model numbers for each antenna and radio installed on each sWTF.

Additional Resources

  1. League of Arizona Cities – Small Cells
  4. From the CTIA
  5. Soon to be released —
  10. Physiscians for Safe Technology