Small Cell Technology

Example of a small cell on a public utility pole in downtown Eugene

Small cell technology is used to provide additional capacity and coverage to existing networks such as in high traffic or hard-to-reach locations. The telecommunications industry is installing more and more small cell technology in cities across the country, often attaching the systems on existing poles in the right-of-way, for example light or utility poles.

When receiving applications for small cell installation in Eugene's right-of-way, Eugene Public Works will evaluate the permits, per local telecommunications ordinances established in 1997. If the request meets permit requirements and follows City standards and specifications for installation, staff grant the permit.

Federal law, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), imposes limitations on a city's ability to regulate the placement and construction of telecommunications towers and facilities. For example, federal law prohibits a city from regulating facilities on the basis of radio frequency (RF) emissions concerns if the facilities comply with FCC rules and standards. The FCC has information about RF safety on its website.

Key Documents

AT&T is one of several telecommunication companies utilizing small cell technology in Eugene's rights of way. For information about AT&T's implementation of small cell technology, email

City of Eugene Actions

  • April 2019: Eugene City Council unanimously passed Resolution No. 5264 requesting the federal government to update studies on potential health risks of 5G radio frequency wireless emissions and publish findings. 
  • December 2018: The City of Eugene joined a group of other cities in filing a petition for review challenging the FCC's order related to right-of-way use for small cell installation. The case, which is entitled City of Eugene, Oregon, et al. vs. FCC, et al., is now working its way through the court system, as are a number of other cases filed by other government agencies.