The Harrodsburg-Mercer County Planning and Zoning Commission is looking at regulating wireless internet service providers.
In particular, the commission wants to address the towers erected by internet providers who use cell phone service to provide internet. Wireless internet uses cell towers to create a home network which functions similarly to a hot spot, requiring a plan with a monthly data limit. Speeds depend on several factors, including proximity to the tower, network congestion and the number of connected devices. While slower than fiber or cable, it creates a stabler network than a cell phone or tablet.
Many companies—including large providers like Verizon and T-Mobile—have expanded access to wireless home internet.
At the planning and zoning commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday, June 14, Shawn Moore, executive director of planning and zoning, said wireless internet towers are not currently regulated under county ordinances.
Bobby Upchurch, chairman of the planning and zoning commission, agreed.
“We as a commission should put them under the same jurisdiction as cell phone towers,” Upchurch said. Cellular towers which provide both internet and phone service are regulated.
“We need to get adjoining property owners notified before a tower goes up,” Upchurch said.
Moore said the issue could be taken care of through a text amendment that lays out the requirements and sets a fee. He said he would start working on the amendment, which will be added to the agenda for the next meeting on Tuesday, July 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Harrodsburg City Hall (208 South Main Street).