Lawsuits Abound Over Florida City Poles and 5G Technology

This week, The Florida League of Cities and three communities, Fort Walton Beach, Naples, and Port Orange, filed a 51-page lawsuit challenging a state law helping telecommunications companies install 5G wireless technology on city-owned utility poles and public rights-of-way. This filing comes just three months after a similar challenge was filed by the same group regarding changes to a 2017 state law (SB 1000), reported WJCT News.

The suit comes as a response to changes by lawmakers that could open cities up to lawsuits in state or federal courts, requiring them to foot the bill for attorneys and other fees if they violate wireless technology laws. Attorneys for the cities contend that the change violates the constitutional separation of powers, according to WJCT News.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a restriction on how much cities can charge for telecommunications companies to install equipment on publicly owned poles. The lawsuit contends that the limit, $150 per pole per year, is unconstitutional as it’s below the market rate. The suit also claims changes to the law violate home-rule powers, and they take issue with requirements that set a shot clock for reviewing and approving infrastructure plans.