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October 11, 2018

Time to Modernize America’s Wireless Networks for 5G .

Time to Modernize America’s Wireless Networks for 5G

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America’s wireless industry is poised to invest $275 billion and create three million jobs to build out a national 5G network that will benefit millions of consumers and businesses.

5G will be a game changer because it’s 100x faster and will support 100x more devices than current 4G networks.

It will change the world around us by truly enabling everything from autonomous vehicles, virtual reality learning in classrooms, and advanced mobile health care solutions to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

However, in order for this future innovation to flourish, hundreds of thousands of new “small cells” which enable 5G connectivity will need to be added to our existing communications infrastructure.

5G technologies are advancing quickly and significant progress has been made at the FCC in terms of approving new wireless siting rules that set reasonable fees and timeliness for mobile deployments. It’s important that Congress gives clear direction to help guide the fast-evolving digital economy.

A bipartisan bill from Senators Thune and Schatz – the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act – would help provide a solution to this critical challenge by also modernizing wireless infrastructure regulations for next generation networks.

The STREAMLINE bill was recently endorsed in a letter signed by a broad and diverse group of 25 associations, including CTIA, the Internet Association, CTA, Global Automakers, ITI, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Farmers Union, the Rural Wireless Association and the United States Cattlemen’s Association.

STREAMLINE encourages the deployment of small cells – backpack-sized antennas – while protecting the rights of localities, creating reasonable timeframes for acting on wireless siting requests, and preserving state and local authority in key areas such as zoning, health and safety.

Small cells can be easily installed in around one hour but in some localities can take a year to get approved. That’s not a blueprint for accelerating innovation across our economy.

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It takes only a couple of hours to install a small cell but years to get approval. FCC action to modernize state and local reviews of wireless infrastructure will speed 5G deployment, could add up to $100 billion to our economy, and will help bring next-gen connectivity to more communities.

The bill also ensures that localities are fully compensated for their costs in issuing permits, overseeing development, and managing rights of way for use by communications providers. This provision is important because the goal is to incentivize deployment to more and more communities.

Disproportionate costs to site wireless infrastructure will hinder deployment, particularly in more rural areas.

That’s why STREAMLINE clarifies that localities retain the right to charge for access to government owned property – while making clear that the rates should be fair and reasonable, be publicly disclosed, and be based on actual and direct costs.

The Senate Commerce Committee field hearing tomorrow in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will be an important step to building further public understanding on why we need to deploy 5G networks efficiently.

As rival nations around the world vie to win the global race to 5G, congressional leaders like Senators Thune and Schatz recognize that 5G is a national priority. Establishing reasonable guardrails on how localities treat siting requests should be part of this national focus.

Americans will reap the rewards of US leadership in 5G – not just from the investment and job creation needed to deliver new networks, but also in the services and innovation it will provide to households and small businesses across the country.

We encourage Senator Thune and Schatz’s colleagues in Congress to support this bipartisan initiative so America’s wireless industry can get to work delivering 5G.

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