MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council moved quickly through a short agenda Dec. 3 but spent a fair amount of time discussing a potential state law that would extend telecom companies’ rights to place utilities in the city’s right of way.

Milton, along with other North Fulton cities, adopted resolutions opposing such a bill in this year’s state Legislature. Though the bill never went to a vote, City Attorney Ken Jarrard said he is confident a similar measure will be presented in the 2019 Legislative Session.

“Who knows precisely what the General Assembly will do, but my sense is, [the bill] had some traction last session,” Jarrard said “My sense is, it’s going to probably get done this session.”

Under current regulations, a telecom provider must submit an application and present a plan that shows where it wants to place equipment or construct a utility pole, petition Milton on the location and meet the city’s regulations and ordinances.

If the state Legislature adopts a bill similar to that presented this year, the utility placement process would be expedited and municipalities would have far less local control.

“It greatly accelerates this process to the point that it won’t be a process where they have to apply or develop a plan,” Jarrard said. “It is a state law that is intended to greatly accelerate the ability of broadband providers to install infrastructure in both city and county right of ways.”

The move is intended to fast-track the rollout of 5G technology across the state.

Alpharetta has already adopted revisions to its development code in anticipation of the state Legislature approving the measure. City officials altered regulations to limit the size and appearance of permissible equipment installed within Alpharetta.

In other action, the council nominated three appointees to its volunteer boards. Susan Kimball and Chrissy Reeves were nominated to serve on the Equestrian Committee, and Kurt Nolte was selected to serve on the Planning Commission.

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