In a few days I am meeting with county officials to address the
regulations, building codes, and permitting process for WISP's. When I
first approached them over a year ago with the desire to build a
tower-less AP on a hill side (electrical cabinet, solar, sector antenna
- very simple...), I was handed the building regulations for "Wireless
Communications Facilities", ie, cell phone towers (think $50k+, &
contractors are the only ones who can touch it). I then tried to
explain that what I am doing is of a different scope and scale, but no
dice. Now, after being patient and pursuing the right contacts, I will
get my 5 minutes. The people I am meeting with are only vaguely aware
of wireless internet technology and didn't seem to know what exactly I
was talking about (although there are several wisps operating in the
large cities in the county, where the codes are the most rigid...).
Over the phone I explained it in terms of, "outdoor, large-scale wifi",
and that people install $200 AP's on grain silos, and that the $50k per
AP just is not a good fit for this emerging industry. They seemed very
open and even glad that someone would address this, even mentioning
reforming the regulations because of the "increasing technology".
Therefore, I have inadvertently become the WISP ambassador in my
County, if only for a moment, and I want to do it right. Will you help
me prepare for this meeting? They would like pictures, drawings, etc.
Also, I want to have a good outline of what we, as the operators and
constructors, think the building requirements should be. I especially
want to contrast the shortcomings of the cell tower regulations on
topics such as:
1. Site Access & Off-The-Street parking: they want a 2 lane road to all
"commercial structures". I'd like to have to take a ATV 2 hours up a
cliff and repel down the side just as a vandalism deterrent (a little
exaggerated of course, but the great AP sites are all the toughest to
2. Contractors Do All The Work: I want to build the unit myself,
turn-key style; if a contractor has to sit it on the ground or bolt it
to a pole that's OK.
3. Permit Required: Do I need a permit for every AP? Do the mesh/muni
guys have to apply for a permit with full engineering drawings, site
plan showing all utilities, & signatures of every property owner within
1000' (the cell tower regs require this...), and a public hearing that
has a 3 month wait list?
4. 6' tall fence around all AP's: no explanation necessary.
5. Operational Certificate By a Professional Engineer: Mostly wind
load language here...
6. Being Bonded To An Insurer For The Price Of Removal: In case you
abandon your "tower", to pay for someone to take it down.
The area I am trying to serve is rural and mostly a retirement
community with low income. My service has to match. It has to be built
cheaply, and the regs just don't allow it, not for anyone that wants a ROI.
Any ideas are more than welcome, and if my documents turn out good
enough, I'll submit them to the list for others to recycle during their
Sorry for writing a novel,
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