Small Cell facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas, supplementing the larger cellular network and improving service for wireless customers.

Effective September 1, 2017, the City of Austin has a new application process for small-cell facilities in the public right-of-way. This new process is in accordance with Texas Senate Bill 1004, amending the Local Government Code by adding Chapter 284 – Deployment of Network Nodes in Public Right-of-Way, enacted by the State of Texas on June 9, 2017. Small-cell facilities are typically comprised of network nodes, antennas, associated wireless equipment, and transport facilities. Following this process will facilitate in the installation of small-cell facilities within the public right-of-way on municipally-owned service poles, Austin Energy poles, and also privately owned network node support poles.

The City of Austin has adopted Administrative Rule #R161-17.02, effective November 10, 2017. This rule sets forth processes, terms and conditions for requesting and permitting the use of City public right of way and city-owned traffic signal and utility poles in the City right of way for small cell installations. This rule also sets forth design parameters, limits, and standards that include aesthetic and concealment requirements for network nodes, node support pole, and transport facilities intended to be placed in the City's right of way under Chapter 284. Click here to review the Chapter 284 document.

The installation of wireless telecommunications, otherwise referred to as Small Cell, infrastructure in Austin is regulated by the City of Austin's Rules and Design Manual Section 12 and the amendment of Texas State law to include Chapter 284 of Local Government Code. Small Cell facilities are typically comprised of network nodes, antennas, associated wireless equipment, and transport facilities. The City's Small Cell application process was designed to facilitate the installation of small cell facilities within the public rights-of-way. The application process and guiding regulations set design parameters, limits, and standards for such facilities.

Wireless telecommunications providers may wish to view the following resources before beginning an application:

Additional information on each step of the Small Cell permitting process can be found below:

Permit Application Process

All permit applications are submitted through the City of Austin’s ABC portal.

  • Select Right Of Way Permits
  • Select the type of application and follow the online application process.
  • See sample screenshot below:

The following documents are required with each node, support pole, or transport facility Small Cell application:

  • ATD or AE pole attachment application
    • New support poles and transport facilities in the City Right of Way need to use ATD pole attachment application.

  • Site plans must show all underground utilities and surface structures within a 20-ft radius of the proposed node, including all trees, shrubs, trash cans, applicable standard traffic control details, and standard paving plans. 

  • A pole-load/structural analysis report is required for each City-owned pole.
    ​​​​​

Images depicting current and proposed condition of site must be included in site plan or submitted separately.

Wireless Provider Registration

Wireless providers should follow these steps prior to applying for Small Cell permits.

  1. Download, complete, notarize, and return the Wireless Provider Questionnaire.
  2. Download, sign, and return two copies of the Pole Attachment Agreements to each department.
  3. Provide a Certificate of Insurance to complete the registration process.

Return the Wireless Provider Questionnaire to April Sellers Oldag in the Development Services office by email or mail.

  • Email: April Sellers
     
  • Mail:
    City of Austin Development Services Department
    ATTN: April Sellers Oldag
    P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767

Pole Attachment Agreements must be signed, original copies. Electronic versions will not be accepted.

Certificates of Insurance should be uploaded with the Wireless Provider Questionnaire.

  • Minimum Insurance Requirements: 
    • Commercial General Liability coverage in the minimum amount of $2,000,000 per occurrence.

    • Worker's Compensation coverage with statutory benefits as set forth in the Texas Worker's Compensation Act and Employer's Liability coverage of not less than $1,000,000 bodily injury per accident, $1,000,000 bodily injury per disease and $1,000,000 per disease per employee. 

    • Business Automobile Liability Insurance for all owned, non-owned, and hired vehicles with a minimum combined single limit of $1,000,000.

Third-party providers may not submit or obtain rights-of-way permits without providing copies of their agreement with a wireless provider. The terms and conditions of the agreement may be redacted as necessary.

Third party agreements can be sent via mail or email to April Sellers Oldag at the Development Services office (as seen above).

Feasibility Review

The City of Austin recommends that wireless providers conduct a feasibility review for all potential Small Cell node sites prior to submitting a permit application. This step is optional. Node sites will not be reserved until permit is submitted.

Use the feasibility review example to prepare site requests.

  • Carrier name
  • Address or Intersection
  • Corner Identity
  • GPS Coordinates
  • Photo depicting current condition of proposed site
  • Map of site
  • Proposed pole type for new self-supporting poles, including height (if applicable)
  • Pole number (if applicable)

Submit Small Cell Feasibility Review Requests here.

Once the request has been submitted, site availability and a power review will be done. Comments will be returned to the contact email provided.

This map shows most of the reserved Small Cell sites.
Follow the steps below to view all pending and active Small Cell sites.

  1. Select the Layer List button in the top left corner
  2. Turn off all existing layers
  3. Select Pole Attachments
  4. You may then query by GPS coordinates or address
Engineering Pre-Requisites

A site plan for the installation of network nodes, node support poles, and/or transport facilities is required with the permit application. Guidelines for small cell engineering site plans can be found in the Design GuidelineATD Traffic Signal Pole Standard Detail, and ATD Approved Lower Shroud Design.  Applicants are also encouraged to review the City of Austin's ATD Transportation Criteria Manual for traffic signal poles and Austin Energy's Utility Criteria Manual. Contact John McDonald with the City of Austin for any questions regarding guidelines for Small Cell engineering site plans.

Applicants must submit an Electronic Service Planning Application to Austin Energy prior to applying for a Small Cell permit. This begins the Austin Energy design phase. A quote will be sent to the applicant, and once payment has been made, the design will be finalized and returned to the applicant.

Applicants must submit a request to obtain a 9-1-1address prior to submitting a Small Cell permit application. For type of address, select Small Cell Antenna.

Applicants should contact each of the City Departments below for maps of infrastructure and requirements to incorporate into their site plans:

Office Point of Contact
Austin Energy Oliver Higgs
Watershed Protection Natalie Ortiz
Development Services John McDonald
Street & Bridge Daren Duncan & David Boswell
Austin Traffic Signals Seyed Ghazinezhadian
Austin Chilled Water Downtown Darron Ross
Austin Chilled Water Mueller Energy Center Barrett Story
Austin Chilled Water Domain Whitney Moyer
Urban Design Saul Vasquez
Traffic Control Jonathan Thompson
Austin Water Eli Pruit
Parks & Recreation Robynne Heymans
Corridor Program Greg Pepper

 

Small Cell Construction Process

Right-of-Way staff will issue all excavation and temporary-use permits in the right-of-way after a Small Cell permit is approved. These permits are provided to the general contractor overseeing deployment of a wireless provider’s Small Cell installation. Once all permits are received, the general contractor must submit a pre-construction (pre-con) meeting request.

Pre-Con Checklist:

A pre-con meeting must be scheduled prior to starting any construction. Applicant should prepare for this meeting by:

  • Calling Texas 8-1-1 with a request to locate underground utility lines at site
     
  • Compiling the following documents to submit with their pre-con meeting request:
    • Approved Small Cell Permit Site Plan

    • Approved Traffic Control Plan

    • Approved Right-of-Way Permits

    • Approved Austin Energy Workorder Design

Email TeleCommunications@austintexas.gov to schedule a pre-con meeting.

Visit the ROW Management Website for further information on working in the rights of way.

If your work will involve a right-of-way closure, please notify 3-1-1 (or 512-974-2000) three (3) days prior to starting construction.

Fees & Mapping Resources

Network Node Application Fees:

Austin Traffic Signal Pole (1-5) $500 for first 5 nodes
Austin Traffic Signal Pole (over 5)

$250 for each node over 5

Austin Energy Utility Pole (1-5)

$500 for first 5 nodes

Austin Energy Utility Pole (over 5) $250 for each node over 5
Other Pole (1-5) $500 for first 5 nodes
Other Pole (over 5) $250 for each node over 5
Transport Facility (1-5) $500 for first 5 nodes
Transport Facility (over 5) $250 for each node over 5

Node Support Pole Application Fees:

New Support Pole - ATD $1000 per pole
New Support Pole - AE $1000 per pole
New Stand-Alone Pole $1000 per pole

Other Fees:

Pro-rated Annual ROW Usage $20.83 per month
Annual ROW Usage $250 per node, annually
Annual ATD Pole Rental $20 per node, annually
Annual AE Pole Rental $20 per node, annually
Monthly Transfer Facility ROW Usage $28 per month

 

Mapping Resources

City of Austin Mobility Map This interactive map provides details on upcoming mobility projects. Use this tool to plan the site construction schedule.

COA Jurisdictions Web Map This map identifies the Right of Way Jurisdiction by address.

Activated 5G Sites

View Activated 5G Sites