FCC Proposing More Big Boosts for Small Cells

That is according to commissioner Brendan Carr, who has been delegated oversight of those efforts by chair Ajit Pai.

In a speech Tuesday (Sept. 4) to a 5G conference at the Indiana General Assembly in Indianapolis.

The item Carr signaled would be on the agenda for the FCC's Sept. 26 meeting has four main points, said Carr. 


1. "reaffirms local control over wireless infrastructure decisions where it is most appropriate, while ensuring that commonsense guardrails apply to outlier conduct."

2. "affirms that local governments may charge wireless providers for the costs associated with reviewing small cell deployment."

3. "tailor the “shot clocks” that have long governed local review of infrastructure deployments to account for the size and scale of small cells."

4. "preserve local governments’ reasonable aesthetic reviews."

Carr called those "commonsense ideas drawn from the hard work of leaders right here in Indiana’s General Assembly and in 19 other state legislatures."

Increasingly, wireless devices are the primary consumer interface for broadband.

The FCC under chairman Pai has made such streamlining moves a priority under the chairman's avowed goal of closing the digital divide and insuring the U.S. is a leader in next-gen wireless broadband.

“We applaud Commissioner Carr for recognizing the importance of 5G leadership to our national economy and communities," said Meredith Attwell Baker, president of CTIA, the wireless association. "We urge the FCC to support these proposals for modernizing outdated infrastructure rules which will spur billions in investment, millions of jobs and the innovations of tomorrow.”"Commissioner Carr’s announcement makes clear that the FCC is seriously committed to the U.S. winning the global race to 5G," said Verizon SVP public policy and government affairs Kathy Grillo. "In some areas, providers face daunting challenges as they seek to deploy the small cells that will be the backbone of our nation's 5G future. Many policymakers at the state and local level have responded to these challenges with helpful reforms, and local officials will continue to play a pivotal role in managing public rights-of-way and protecting legitimate local interests. In order to be competitive on a global scale, the U.S. must adopt national policies that promote the deployment of next-generation networks and services that offer huge promise to consumers, our economy, and our society. Commissioner Carr’s speech balances both of these important interests. It's a bright day for our nation's 5G future."

“TIA applauds Commissioner Carr’s announcement of the important steps the FCC plans to take to promote wireless infrastructure deployment," said Cinnamon Rogers, SVP of government affairs for the Telecommunications Industry Association.  "Americans are placing ever-increasing demands for bandwidth on the nation’s wireless networks, and enabling rapid deployment of infrastructure is critical to keep pace with that demand. Many new networks rely on small-cell technologies, including today’s 4G networks and the next-generation 5G networks that are about to launch."

“We applaud Commissioner Carr for today’s announcement of an order to speed 5G deployment across the United States," said ACT-The App Associatoin. "This order outlines a path that removes barriers and ensures all communities can take part in the digital economy, and that the United States remains a leader in the wireless ecosystem. Strong 5G networks will benefit our country’s dynamic app developers and internet of things (IoT) innovators and bolster our growing internet-enabled business community. We thank Commissioner Carr for his leadership on 5G deployment and look forward to working with the FCC on this important issue.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.