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FCC: ‘Modern regulatory approach boosts 5G’

February 26, 2019

Nick Snow @ MWC

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr has suggested that policy decisions it has adopted have helped the early development of 5G in the US.

Delivering a speech on ‘A Modern Regulatory Approach to 5G’ during the Transatlantic Policy Dialogue at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Carr noted that although the benefits of 5G are compelling, the network upgrade won’t happen evenly or everywhere unless we get the right regulatory structures in place. “After all, many of the largest cities in the US, like those here in Europe, might see 5G almost regardless of the regulations we adopt. But that’s not success. We want to see next-generation broadband and the economic opportunity it enables available in every community. And smart infrastructure policies are key to doing that—they can flip the business case for thousands of communities. That’s why we’ve been so focused over the last year at the FCC on updating our broadband infrastructure rules,” he advised.

He highlighted two “significant” reforms adopted during 2018. “First, we updated our approach to the federal historic and environmental rules that govern the build-out of broadband infrastructure. We did so because our old rules assumed that every new cell site is a large, 200-foot tower. Those rules made no sense when you’re talking about the backpack-sized small cells that are needed to support 5G networks. They threatened to slow down and delay the deployment of next-generation networks. So we updated our environmental and historic preservation rules to reflect new technology.”

“Second, we examined impediments to infrastructure build-out imposed by city and state governments. We sought to respect the deep tradition of federalism in America, while providing updated guidance on the limits Congress placed on local governments’ small cell approval processes. We clarified that the fees governments charge for siting small cells in rights-of-way must not exceed a reasonable approximation of their costs, and we tightened the shot clocks for approving small cell applications so that we can get this infrastructure up more quickly,” he added.

He suggested that 5G could create diverse jobs, innovations that improve our lives, and more choices for connectivity. “At the FCC, we have focused on spreading these opportunities to the maximum number of communities, under the mantra ‘More Broadband for More Americans’. We hope to continue executing on that goal with a modern regulatory approach: one that is inclusive, nimble, and attractive to investment and job creation,” he concluded.

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