Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Small Cell Technology – Infrastructure Installation

Posted on September 28th, 2018

DDOT plans to issue permits for the installation of Small Cell Technology infrastructure. This could have a major impact on the streetscape, viewsheds and tree canopy throughout the District. (see links to supporting documentation at end of post)

Description below was provided by the District’s Department of Transportation :


The introduction of smart phones 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.

In order to meet the burgeoning and ever increasing consumption of data and bandwidth technology companies have deployed new and additional equipment to keep up with demand. While this is happening all over the world, the deployment of this new infrastructure in a city as unique and particularly designed as the District of Columbia requires a careful, thoughtful, and comprehensive approach. To do this the District has adopted an approach that has been implemented in several jurisdictions across the country that fit within the broad parameters established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This approach includes requiring every company 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.


An initial step in the process for deployment was the development of a Master License Agreement Master License Agreement (MLA). Several companies have filed MLAs with the District of Columbia. A complete list of MLA holders can be found at The MLA establishes certain conditions and requirements on license holders, including limitations on their Small Cell infrastructure and adhering to future guidelines in order to obtain permits. The MLA is a universal document and all MLA holders are bound by its provisions.

District Department of Transportation | Public Space Regulation Administration | Permits Office 1100 4th Street SW, Suite E-360, Washington, DC 20024 | 202.442-4670 | Inspections Office | 55 M St SE, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20003 |202-645-7050

The purpose of this notice is to provide you with information regarding the deployment of wireless telecommunication antennae and equipment (“Small Cell”) in the District of Columbia and to request your review and comment on draft guidelines developed by various government agencies. The guidelines were drafted in order to ensure an orderly installation of Small Cell across the District’s unique and special public space. The telecommunications industry will be deploying infrastructure that will bring 5thGeneration (5G) technology to the area and your input is necessary for the guidelines to reflect the best direction for all stakeholders. These draft guidelines and comments will go through a vetting process that includes the Public Space Committee, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission.


To develop comprehensive guidelines, the District of Columbia government has brought together stakeholder agencies including the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Office of Planning (DCOP), the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office (HPO), the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The purpose of bringing together these groups was to develop guidelines that will serve as a roadmap for the public, the government agencies responsible for managing the public space in the District, and the Small Cell providers regarding how, where, and when Small Cell technology will be deployed in the District of Columbia.

The result of these initial meetings is the Draft Guidelines included with this notice. These are only draft guidelines, meant to serve as a starting point for the conversation regarding the deployment of this next generation of utility infrastructure. They require the careful and thoughtful input of the citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders of the District in order to be the best and most authoritative guidelines to ensure that the deployment of Small Cell technology is seamlessly woven into the unique character of the District of Columbia.

We ask that the ANCs, BIDs, and Main Streets review and provide comments for these guidelines to the Public Space Committee. Having the recommendations of the ANCs and BIDs will help the District establish and adopt the guidelines necessary to fulfill the duty we have been entrusted with by past generations and to provide a legacy we can be proud of for future generations. (The ANCs, BIDs, and Main Streets may also be asked to provide comments to CFA, NCPC, and HPO through their processes; the request in this notice is specific to the Public Space Committee.)


Comments on these guidelines should be provided via email to In the subject line please include the title: Small Cell Guideline Comments. Comments may also be mailed to the Public Space Committee, c/o DDOT Public Space Permit Office, 1100 4th St SW, Room 360, Washington DC, 20024. On the outside of the envelope please note that it includes comments on the Small Cell Guidelines.

These comments will be collected and presented to the Public Space Committee (PSC) at a special meeting it is convening to consider these guidelines. The PSC special meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 15th, 2018 and will be held in Room 200 of 1100 4th St SW. The meeting will be scheduled to provide time for as many participants as possible to provide comment to the PSC. The meeting notice will be published in the DC Register on September 7th.

The deadline to provide written comments in advance of the PSC meeting is 5:00 PM on Friday, October 5th. PSC meetings are open to the public and the PSC welcomes testimony from all parties. If you are interested in commenting at the PSC meeting please contact the PSC staff through the same email address:

Sincerely, Elliott Maurice Garrett Executive Secretary Public Space Committee

CHRS comments on draft Guidelines 10-05-218

Small Cell Forum White Paper on Siting Challenges 08-2018

FCC Proposes Preemption & Fee Cap 09-2018

Notes from Commission on Fine Arts Briefing, 07-19-2018ean

Notes from Committee of 100 and National Capital Planning Commission meeting 07-12-2018