FCC Votes To Ease Wireless Infrastructure Deployment

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.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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