Small Cell and 5G Wireless

There has been much public interest in regards to wireless technology in the City in general, but more specifically focused on small cell wireless installations, and in particular what is referred to as 5G, or Fifth Generation Wireless. 5G is considered the next technological advance in wireless infrastructure and aims to increase data communication speeds by up to three times compared to its predecessor, 4G. 

Much of the concern we hear from the public concerning 5G, has to do with its potential for health effects. The City of Irvine shares the public’s concern for safety in reviewing and allowing the installation of wireless facilities in Irvine. For context, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established Federal Safety Standards for all wireless facilities. The City of Irvine is pre-empted from establishing safety standards that are more rigorous than the adopted Federal Standards. However, City staff reviews all wireless facilities to ensure, among other things, compliance with Federal Safety Standards.

With respect to 5G installations, the only operational 5G facility to date in Irvine is a single "pilot project" facility located at Verizon's office headquarters in the Spectrum.

To regulate small cell facility installations, the City Council adopted Ordinance 19-06 in April of 2019. That Ordinance was very protective of residential neighborhoods, and uses such as parks and schools. It establishes setback requirements for these facilities that essentially limits (in most instances) installations to major streets and thoroughfares. Ordinance 19-06 can be found on our municipal code website.

5G and Small Cell Wireless Frequently Asked Questions

View an area map of approved wireless sites

Map of Permitted Citywide 5G and small cell facilities