This is how government should be behaving. They should be removing the hurdles for business and society to advance.
The FCC voted unanimously Friday (Oct. 17) to make it easier to deploy wireless infrastructure, yet another step in the commission’s broader move to spur broadband deployment.
The item extends various exclusions from environmental and historical impact restrictions for wireless buildouts, including co-locations of new equipment on existing structures, and clarifies that shot clocks and other measures to ease infrastructure buildouts extend to distributed antenna systems and small cells.
State and local entities won’t be able to deny further modifications of existing sites that do not change the physical dimensions, and fixes a 60-day deadline for action.
The expanded exclusions come with the caveats that the additional equipment does not materially affect the impact of the existing structure, and does not apply to historic districts or structures on the National Register of Historic Places.
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said she was able to support that 60-day deadline only after CTIA: The Wireless Association and PCIA: The Wireless Infrastructure Association, agreed at the 11th hour to help localities with limited resources to meet that deadline, including informing municipalities of best practices and educating them about the application process.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that to have a wireless revolution, an infrastructure evolution was needed, and the FCC had begun that with Friday’s vote on the item, as well as another item to begin exploring use of high-frequency bands for mobile. What the FCC does today goes beyond towers, she said. They are the first steps to encourage infrastructure that is absolutely critical, including the small cells and distributed antenna systems that will be critical to the next generation of wireless. “The race to 5G is on,” she said.