Better cell phone service is coming soon to Amarillo but it will come with a price tag.

5G service is the next big thing for cellphones.  Several companies have expressed interest in beginning the installation of cell nodes that would provide 5G coverage in Amarillo.

The nodes are about three feet high and are attached to existing structures.  Recent changes in state law mandate a set fee for companies to access the right of way to install the nodes.  The locations can be leased at $250 each.  That’s a small fraction of what the city used to get when it independently negotiated rates with the companies.  The city stands to lose lots of revenue, which was used to maintain the sites.  Now maintenance costs will have to come from somewhere else in the city budget.

Installation of the nodes won’t begin until the city council passes design guidelines.  That is expected to be approved by the end of the month.