September 26, 2018
FCC Siting Reform Will Bring Economic, Societal, and Global Benefits .
Today, the FCC voted to modernize the national framework for the siting of wireless infrastructure. This is a significant win for America’s economy and securing U.S. global leadership in 5G.
The FCC’s Order creates national guideposts—including clear timelines and cost-based fees—around state and local siting practices. This reform will provide clarity to both communities and applicants, and is timely and necessary.
That’s because in many localities, siting regulations have not been updated to reflect that 80 percent of future wireless infrastructure deployments will be small cell antennas the size of a backpack, not the traditional 200-foot towers of years past.
Small cells—roughly 800,000 of them over the next eight years—will power the 5G networks that are being rolled out across the U.S. right now. But today, small cells can take one or two hours to install, while the review process can take a year—and cost thousands of dollars in fees.
Today’s Order also reflects a reasonable approach to solving this challenge, balancing the need for reform with local communities’ responsibility to govern their property and recoup wireless infrastructure-associated costs.
To reach this common-sense framework, the FCC, under the leadership of Commissioner Brendan Carr, conducted hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, including local community leaders and state officials and toured the country visiting communities, farms, and health clinics to see the benefits of increased connectivity and the promise of 5G firsthand.
Those discussions resulted in a thoughtful balance between the goal of efficient, expeditious broadband deployment and the recognition of the important role local governments play in wireless siting.
The FCC’s Order also builds on the efforts of 20 forward-looking states that have already passed small cell legislation to make their communities 5G-ready. While states and localities can take additional steps and go above and beyond that benchmark to compete for more 5G investment capital, today’s reforms will create the national guidance needed to expedite 5G deployment.
In fact, according to Accenture, speeding up 5G deployments by a year will mean an extra $100 billion for the U.S. economy—on top of the $500 billion in economic growth and 3 million jobs that 5G already promises.
Reducing the cost of wireless infrastructure deployments will also enable more wireless services in more areas. Estimates predict that the FCC’s reforms will free up $2.3 billion in capital investment that can be deployed to boost wireless connectivity in rural and suburban areas.
Removing barriers to 5G wireless deployment also helps the U.S. maintain our global wireless leadership. Being first to 4G meant that the app economy was started in—and now flourishes in—America.
Infrastructure reform will help ensure the industries and advancements of tomorrow are not exported abroad. Carriers in the U.S. will launch the first 5G services in the world this Fall. Thanks to the FCC’s action today, more communities will benefit from 5G services sooner. That is great news.
So thank you to Commissioner Carr for spearheading this effort and to the Commission for your collective leadership today on this important issue. These kinds of infrastructure reforms will help the wireless industry more rapidly build out the networks that will power our connected future and unlock the benefits of next-generation networks for Americans across the country.