160D-931. Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1) Antenna. - Communications equipment that transmits, receives, or transmits and receives electromagnetic radio signals used in the provision of all types of wireless communications services.

(2) Applicable codes. - The North Carolina State Building Code and any other uniform building, fire, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical codes adopted by a recognized national code organization together with State or local amendments to those codes enacted solely to address imminent threats of destruction of property or injury to persons.

(3) Application. - A request submitted by an applicant to the local government for a permit to collocate wireless facilities or to approve the installation, modification, or replacement of a utility pole, city utility pole, or a wireless support structure.

(4) Base station. - A station at a specific site authorized to communicate with mobile stations, generally consisting of radio receivers, antennas, coaxial cables, power supplies, and other associated electronics.

(5) Building permit. - An official administrative authorization issued by the local government prior to beginning construction consistent with the provisions of G.S. 160D-1110.

(6) City right-of-way. - A right-of-way owned, leased, or operated by a city, including any public street or alley that is not a part of the State highway system.

(7) City utility pole. - A pole owned by a city (i) in the city right-of-way that provides lighting, traffic control, or a similar function and (ii) as part of a public enterprise owned or operated by a city pursuant to Article 16 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes consisting of an electric power generation, transmission, or distribution system.

(8) Collocation. - The placement, installation, maintenance, modification, operation, or replacement of wireless facilities on, under, within, or on the surface of the earth adjacent to existing structures, including utility poles, city utility poles, water towers, buildings, and other structures capable of structurally supporting the attachment of wireless facilities in compliance with applicable codes. The term does not include the installation of new utility poles, city utility poles, or wireless support structures.

(9) Communications facility. - The set of equipment and network components, including wires and cables and associated facilities used by a communications service provider to provide communications service.

(10) Communications service. - Cable service as defined in 47 U.S.C.  522(6), information service as defined in 47 U.S.C.  153(24), telecommunications service as defined in 47 U.S.C.  153(53), or wireless services.

(11) Communications service provider. - A cable operator as defined in 47 U.S.C.  522(5); a provider of information service, as defined in 47 U.S.C.  153(24); a telecommunications carrier, as defined in 47 U.S.C.  153(51); or a wireless provider.

(12) Eligible facilities request. - A request for modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that involves collocation of new transmission equipment or replacement of transmission equipment but does not include a substantial modification.

(13) Equipment compound. - An area surrounding or near the base of a wireless support structure within which a wireless facility is located.

(14) Fall zone. - The area in which a wireless support structure may be expected to fall in the event of a structural failure, as measured by engineering standards.

(15) Land development regulation. - Any ordinance enacted pursuant to this Chapter.

(16) Micro wireless facility. - A small wireless facility that is no larger in dimension than 24 inches in length, 15 inches in width, and 12 inches in height and that has an exterior antenna, if any, no longer than 11 inches.

(17) Search ring. - The area within which a wireless support facility or wireless facility must be located in order to meet service objectives of the wireless service provider using the wireless facility or wireless support structure.

(18) Small wireless facility. - A wireless facility that meets the following qualifications:

a. Each antenna is located inside an enclosure of no more than 6 cubic feet in volume or, in the case of an antenna that has exposed elements, the antenna and all of its exposed elements, if enclosed, could fit within an enclosure of no more than 6 cubic feet.

b. All other wireless equipment associated with the facility has a cumulative volume of no more than 28 cubic feet. For the purposes of this sub-subdivision, the following types of ancillary equipment are not included in the calculation of equipment volume: electric meters, concealment elements, telecommunications demarcation boxes, ground-based enclosures, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, cut-off switches, vertical cable runs for the connection of power and other services, or other support structures.

(19) Substantial modification. - The mounting of a proposed wireless facility on a wireless support structure that substantially changes the physical dimensions of the support structure. The burden is on the local government to demonstrate that a mounting that does not meet the listed criteria constitutes a substantial change to the physical dimensions of the wireless support structure. A mounting is presumed to be a substantial modification if it meets any one or more of the following criteria:

a. Increasing the existing vertical height of the structure by the greater of (i) more than ten percent (10%) or (ii) the height of one additional antenna array with separation from the nearest existing antenna not to exceed 20 feet.

b. Except where necessary to shelter the antenna from inclement weather or to connect the antenna to the tower via cable, adding an appurtenance to the body of a wireless support structure that protrudes horizontally from the edge of the wireless support structure the greater of (i) more than 20 feet or (ii) more than the width of the wireless support structure at the level of the appurtenance.

c. Increasing the square footage of the existing equipment compound by more than 2,500 square feet.

(20) Utility pole. - A structure that is designed for and used to carry lines, cables, wires, lighting facilities, or small wireless facilities for telephone, cable television, electricity, lighting, or wireless services.

(21) Water tower. - A water storage tank, a standpipe, or an elevated tank situated on a support structure originally constructed for use as a reservoir or facility to store or deliver water.

(22) Wireless facility. - Equipment at a fixed location that enables wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network, including (i) equipment associated with wireless communications and (ii) radio transceivers, antennas, wires, coaxial or fiber-optic cable, regular and backup power supplies, and comparable equipment, regardless of technological configuration. The term includes small wireless facilities. The term does not include any of the following:

a. The structure or improvements on, under, within, or adjacent to which the equipment is collocated.

b. Wireline backhaul facilities.

c. Coaxial or fiber-optic cable that is between wireless structures or utility poles or city utility poles or that is otherwise not immediately adjacent to or directly associated with a particular antenna.

(23) Wireless infrastructure provider. - Any person with a certificate to provide telecommunications service in the State who builds or installs wireless communication transmission equipment, wireless facilities, or wireless support structures for small wireless facilities but that does not provide wireless services.

(24) Wireless provider. - A wireless infrastructure provider or a wireless services provider.

(25) Wireless services. - Any services, using licensed or unlicensed wireless spectrum, including the use of Wi-Fi, whether at a fixed location or mobile, provided to the public using wireless facilities.

(26) Wireless services provider. - A person who provides wireless services.

(27) Wireless support structure. - A new or existing structure, such as a monopole, lattice tower, or guyed tower that is designed to support or capable of supporting wireless facilities. A utility pole or a city utility pole is not a wireless support structure. (2019-111, s. 2.4; 2020-3, s. 4.33(a); 2020-25, s. 51(a), (b), (d); 2021-180, s. 38.10(l).)