John Kasich’s “Wild Wild West” Ohio Includes No Permits or Fees Required for Cable or Video Service Providers to Install Micro Wireless Infrastructure Underground?

By B.N. Frank

Giddy-up, Ohio.  John Kasich wants your Midwestern state to be the “Wild Wild West” for automated vehicles – despite all the accidents (and one fatality so far).

“You’ll always have to take risks,” Kasich said Wednesday while announcing the order. “If you don’t take risks, you die.”

Then again – sometimes you take risks and die anyway.  Or perhaps you take risks and another person dies – like that woman hit by the self-driving Uber.  R.I.P.Elaine Herzberg.

Regardless, on May 9, 2018, he signed an executive order that allows companies to test these cars on any public road in the Midwestern state, without anyone behind the wheel. According to the order, a licensed driver will have to monitor the car remotely and have the ability to avoid accidents if the car’s system fails.

Kasich also said his mother and father were killed by drunk drivers.  He believes that AVs will prevent “senseless death” and “carnage” on highways even though no one can really prove that these vehicles will be safer than human drivers, drunk or otherwise.

Equally Wild Wild West-ish: one week earlier, Kasich signed Ohio House Bill 478 “Small Cells Expansion Act” which eliminates almost all municipal control over small cell tower placement including in residential yards and public rights of ways.  Some of these towers have already been installed throughout Ohio and in front of homes.

The bill also allows:

a cable or video service provider shall not be required to obtain permits from a municipal corporation or to pay fees, with the exception of work permits and associated fees, to place, operate, maintain, or replace micro wireless facilities pursuant to an existing franchise or video service authorization under Chapter 1332. of the Revised Code;

nor shall a holder of an existing franchise or video service authorization be required to obtain additional authorizations or to pay additional fees for the placement of micro wireless facilities already covered under an existing franchise or video service authorization under Chapter 1332. of the Revised Code.

No permits.  No fees.  Ignore “The Precautionary Principle” and just start digging?

According to the CDC, over 50% of Ohio ADULTS live in “wireless only” homes.  This seems to justify installing wireless infrastructure all over Ohio above ground and below – including in residential yards without actually asking Ohio residents if they want this?  That’s not democracy.

According to one Ohio law firm, some Ohio municipalities are fighting back:

As a result of the forthcoming changes to ORC Chapter 4939[1] by Ohio House Bill 478, a flurry of Public Way Notices (PWN) have recently been filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) by municipalities considering the enactment of new or revised ROW ordinances.  Since May 1, 2018, 28 PWNs have been filed with PUCO.

Although it seems likely that many of the newly proposed ROW ordinances being considered by municipalities are intended to apply to small cell facilities in the ROW, ambiguous language in certain sections of the new proposed ordinances could allow municipalities to impose their new requirements upon energy companies with existing facilities in the public ROW. Such application may cause permitting delays and increased costs for an energy company attempting to repair, replace, or maintain its infrastructure.

In the meantime, doctors, environmental groups, organizations and even elected officials in other states have been fighting similar state and federal legislation that eliminate municipal control over installation.

Since 2004, The International Association of Firefighters has opposed the use of their stations as base stations for cell towers and antennas until it can be proven that they are not hazardous to the health of members.

The Telecom Industry has also never said that cell phones are safe.  Cell phone manufacturers are warning shareholders (not customers) that they may eventually be held liable for the harm their products have caused.

Regardless, apparently really soon, Ohio teens and everyone else will have plenty of time to share porn or whatever online at higher speeds while being carted around by remotely controlled cars.

Thanks, Kasich.

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