Small cells are low-powered base stations that give coverage to highly populated areas. They strengthen local coverage to give you a faster and more reliable connection. Small cells are generally used to deliver 4G mobile services and will play an important role in providing 5G mobile telecommunications.
You can expect to see small cells on light, power poles. You may also notice small cells on ‘smart’ light pole systems (which combine lighting, Wi-Fi and mobile coverage), bus stops, and advertising panels.
Small cells are installed and operated by private providers who are striving to continually improve and expand their network capacity and coverage. The City of Airdrie will allow small cell wireless facilities to be installed on approved City of Airdrie buildings, infrastructure, and lands as well as in the right-of-way. Small cell wireless facilities are low-powered antennas that provide cellular and data coverage to smaller geographic areas supplementing the larger cellular network improving service for wireless customers.
The City does have the opportunity to oversee and give input on the installation of the sites, which it will do by entering into license agreements with each provider depending on the site. Once the agreement is reviewed and approved, the provider is then able to apply for a permit for specific site locations. Each small cell wireless facility permit is reviewed by City staff for compliance of the City design standards (PDF) to minimize the size of the equipment and to blend into existing streetscapes as much as possible.
As wireless providers, infrastructure owners or similar entities begin to consider deployment of new small cell wireless networks on city buildings, infrastructure or lands in Airdrie, the first step in that process shall be the execution of a license agreement with the City of Airdrie. This agreement shall provide the overall framework for network deployment, approvals, and facility installations throughout the City.
Once the License Agreement has been completed, the owner can complete the Permit Application then schedule a pre-submittal meeting with City staff to review the proposed sites. This meeting is not required but it is strongly suggested to help streamline the permit submittals.
To schedule a pre-submittal meeting or for license agreement concerns, please call Corporate Leasing at 403.948.8800.
Small cell wireless facilities require permits to be installed on a City of Airdrie building, infrastructure and lands and may also require a Municipal Access Agreement for right of way access. The submittal must include all the required documents as listed in the Permit Application Form. If documents are missing, the City will not accept the application. Each provider can submit site applications in sets no greater than 10 applications at one time.
Application forms can be emailed to email@example.com. Please include all supporting documents at time of application. If documents are not attached, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be processed. Depending on proposed location, additional documents may be required. Download the requirement checklist for complete information.
Once an application has been accepted, City staff will review and comment within 60 business days. Additional reviews and a meeting may be scheduled depending on the location of the submittal and the application.
Once staff have reviewed the application and are satisfied, the permit status will be approved and the applicant will receive a notification by email. The applicant will then be required to pay all permit fees before work can begin.
Inspections are completed Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and must scheduled. If there is work (i.e. concrete, boring, pothole/test holes) completed in the right of way, inspections must be scheduled and completed daily.
Once the required inspections are completed with a FINAL result, the small cell wireless permit will be finalized and considered closed. An email with the results and notice of permit closer will be sent to the email that is on file.
The fees for this permit type will be for the services needed by several departments and for multiple processes. Each applicant will pay permits or fees for right of way and permits for Building Inspections and Planning. It is important to include your small cell worksheet in your application documents. Review the list of permit fees that will be charged on your permits. Please be aware that additional fees may apply and will be identified through the permitting process.
Annual fees (if applicable)
Annual fees (if applicable)
City of Airdrie small cell facilities can be placed in the following areas:
While the public streetlights are owned and maintained by Fortis, the upkeep of the small cell sites is the responsibility of the wireless providers. If you have concerns regarding the operation of a cell site, please contact the carrier.
Public health information in relation to radio frequency radiation is available through the Government of Canada.