Small Cell Wireless Facilities

The City of Grand Rapids, as required by the State of Michigan, must process and issue permits for small cell wireless facilities for uses in public space. The Energy, Lighting & Communications Department oversees this process. Listed below is information about small cell wireless facilities and other resources.


Permit Tracking

You can view a map of permit applications and sign up to get email notifications whenever we get a new application.


Administrative Policy

Review the administrative rules for small cell wireless facilities.

Download Policy(PDF, 992KB)


Power Density Test Results

Geotech, Inc. tested our small and micro cell sites for compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards. Use the link below to view the radio frequency power density test results.

Download Report(PDF, 465KB)

What is a small cell wireless facility?

A small cell wireless facility is a radio access point with low radio frequency (RF) power output and range. They are used by telecom providers to meet the growing demand of devices connecting to mobile networks.


Why are small cell wireless facilities needed?

Small cell wireless facilities are needed to meet the growing demand of the increasing number of devices and data used by individuals and business to connect to mobile networks.


Why are small cell wireless facilities placed in the public rights-of-way?

Wireless service providers place small cell wireless facilities in the public rights-of-ways because these areas usually have fiber optic cable and power, both of which are required for small cell wireless facilities.


What does a small cell wireless facility look like?

On a street lighting pole

Photo of a street light pull with a small cell wireless facility placed on top

On a Utility Pole

Photo of a utility pole with a small cell wireless facility mounted near the top of the pole


What are the Administrative Rules for Small Cell Wireless Facilities?

Download a copy of the rules using the link below.


How are small cell wireless facilities being deployed in the City of Grand Rapids?

The City of Grand Rapids is required to process and issue permits for uses of public space. Additionally, the City is required by the State of Michigan to verify that all small cell wireless facilities are in compliance with State of Michigan PA365 of 2018. The City is responsible for thousands of street lighting poles throughout the City, which are used by telecom providers to install small cell wireless facilities. Telecom providers must apply for a permit to install a small cell wireless facility on the public rights-of-way and meet the requirements outlined in the Administrative Rules for Small Cell Wireless Facilities(PDF, 992KB). To date, the City has approved just over 100 permits, with another 50 permits currently in the review process. Approximately 50 small cell wireless facilities have been installed. Telecom providers estimate that they will have a total of 500 small cell wireless facilities installed by 2024.


What are some of the benefits of small cell wireless facilities?

Small cell wireless facilities improve cellular data coverage in areas with a weak signal and increase data upload and download speeds. The equipment is small and easy to install on existing utility poles.


Where can I find more information?

You can find more information on our website, including an interactive facilities map and a sign-up form to receive email notifications of new small cell wireless facility locations. You may also contact our Customer Service department if you have more questions. Just dial 3-1-1 (or 616-456-3000) from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act 365 of 2018

View Act 365 of 2018

Publication by the Federal Communications Commission

Wireless Infrastructure Deployment for 5G

A city ordinance to regulate small cell/wireless facilities in the public rights of way

View Ordinance

This is an interactive map of all small cell wireless facilities installed, approved, or pending within the city.

View Map