FCC Drops Small Cell Regulations To Speed Up 5G Roll Out


The FCC has voted to drop regulations on small cells in an effort to speed up the deployment of 5G broadband networks and “remove barriers to infrastructure,” according to Ajit Pai. Here’s are four specific small cell regulations the new order eliminates, according to the FCC.

  1. The FCC Order exempts small cells from regulations under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. It also “streamlines” the process for Native American Tribal review.
  2. The Order standardizes the information submitted to Tribal and Native Hawaiian Organizations  in an effort to make it simpler, and faster, for these groups to approve or deny a project.
  3. Outlaws “upfront fees” charged to network operators to Historic committees to consider approval of deployment.
  4. Eliminates Environmental Assessments for small cell deployments in floodplains.

“You can stick with the regulatory status quo or you can have 5G. You cannot have both,” Chairman Pai said in a statement announcing the new rules.

Commissioner Brendan Carr is leading the effort at the FCC to roll back regulations and free up spectrum for 5G.

“In the U.S. the private sector is doing its part…,” Carr said. “But there’s a problem. We will not win this race—consumers in the U.S. will not realize these
benefits—if we don’t do our part at the FCC.”

The Commissioner also notes the deep investment by wireless providers — $275 billion — to deploy networks and the 3 million new jobs 5G build out is projected to create.

As soon as they were announced, Tribes vowed to fight the new rules in court.


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