Summary of FCC Commissioner Carr's Remarks on Ensuring the U.S. is 5G Ready

Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission announced a new plan to advance 5G deployment in the U.S. A key obstacle is our country’s outdated infrastructure regulations, which were written for previous generations of wireless technology. To ensure the U.S. is 5G Ready, he announced that the FCC will vote at its March 22 Open Meeting on a plan to streamline the federal historic and environmental review procedures that apply to wireless infrastructure deployments. 

The Plan

  • Exclude small wireless facilities from the environmental and historic review procedures that were designed for large, macrocell deployments by determining that they are neither “federal undertakings” nor “major federal actions.” This is projected to reduce the regulatory costs of small cell deployment by 80 percent, cut deployment timelines in half, and expand 5G deployments.
  • Streamline the historic review procedures that will continue applying to larger wireless deployments by updating the Section 106 Tribal consultation process to address up-front fees, clarify the consultation process, and adopt a clear timeline within which deployments can commence when a Tribe does not respond. These reforms will only apply to deployments located off of Tribal lands and outside of reservation boundaries.
  • Revise the FCC’s approach to environmental reviews by adopting a shot clock for the FCC’s own processing of Environmental Assessments (EAs) and, for deployments in floodplains, clarifying that EAs need not be filed for deployments one foot above the base flood elevation.

Summary of FCC Commissioner Carr's Remarks on Ensuring the U.S. is 5G Ready Remarks of Commissioner Carr "Ensuring the United States if 5G Ready" Small Cell Dereg Gets Big D.C. Hand (Multichannel News) FCC Proposing to Exempt 5G Facilities From Historic, Environmental Reviews (Broadcasting&Cable) FCC Poised to Revamp Small Cell Regulation (telecompetitor)