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Utility Right of Way Program
Utility companies provide services to the citizens of Charlotte on a daily basis.  These services to homes and businesses include power, telephone, gas, water and sewer, television and internet services.  The Utility Right of Way Program helps ensure that citizens continue to receive quality service from these utility companies while protecting the public and the City’s infrastructure.
Utility Right of Way Ordinance
Charlotte City Council passed the Utility Right of Way Use Ordinance in October 2007 in order to safeguard the transportation system, improve coordination among utilities, maintain public safety and minimize traffic disruptions. The Right of Way management section of the Charlotte Department of Transportation issues permits for hundreds of new utility installations every year. Under this ordinance, staff ensures that the installations are completed in a manner that minimizes disruption to the public as much as possible.
Utility box in right of way
Utilities Right to Use the Public Right of Way

Certificated utilities claim a right under state law to access municipal rights of way pursuant to State General Statute 62-180.  In addition, telecommunication companies have rights under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1995.  Municipalities have the authority to reasonably regulate pursuant to State General Statute 160A-296(a) (6) so long as the regulations do not unreasonably interfere with a utility’s ability to provide service to their customers.
Distributed Antenna System (DAS)
An example of a utility regulated by the Utility Right of Way Ordinance is a distributed antenna system (DAS). DAS is an emerging technology that is meant to enhance the ability of wireless communication carriers to provide services for their customers. When installed in the public right of way, the antenna, which is typically about 18 inches tall, is mounted to a streetlight pole or similar type of pole. The antenna receives a signal from the customer’s mobile phone and then transmits that signal through fiber optic cable to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to complete the calls. The design and placement of these DAS antennas are intended to minimize visual impact. On the right is an image of a typical DAS antenna mounted to a streetlight-type pole. 
 

DAS antenna mounted to a pole
Additional documents are available here for use by utility companies regulated under this program.