Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
6/20/2017 House Oks Ucci bill to pave the way to bring 5G to RI
Making state early adopter of new, faster wireless network would be economic development tool, legislator says
STATE HOUSE – The House today gave its approval to legislation sponsored by Rep. Stephen R. Ucci to pave the way for Rhode Island to become an early adopter of 5th generation mobile networks (5G) – the next generation of wireless networks.

The legislation will facilitate the installation of technology for the network in Rhode Island, which would encourage high-tech business growth as well as enabling Rhode Islanders to take advantage of new technology and the fastest wireless speeds available, Representative Ucci said.

“Making Rhode Island an easy place for telecommunications firms to set up 5G technology would be an economic development tool for Rhode Island. We would be ahead of many other states, and it would make us attractive to tech companies that want the newest, fastest communication technology available. Ordinary Rhode Islanders would also be able to take advantage of the network to enjoy the same advantages,” said Representative Ucci (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston). “This is a way for our state to, at no financial cost to us, encourage private investment and reap the rewards of increased economic activity.”

The legislation (2017-H 5224) would allow wireless service providers authorized to do business in the state to install the small equipment necessary to establish a 5G network in Rhode Island alongside existing infrastructure such as poles, public rights of way or buildings. It would not give providers the ability to install anything on private property without the permission of the owner. While the work would be subject to normal building, electrical or a public right-of-way use or work permits and any other permits that would normally be required of communications service provider, the bill would ensure that no new laws or fees are set up to limit or discourage wireless service providers from installing or maintaining such a network, and require that state and local agencies respond in a timely manner to applications for such permits.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Thomas Winfield (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester), Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown). It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton) is sponsoring companion legislation (2017-S 0342).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923