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FCC Sets Rules for 5G Infrastructure, Limiting State and Local Control

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved sweeping regulations on Wednesday for 5G wireless infrastructure, significantly curtailing the authority of states and localities. The industry-backed declaratory ruling includes several preemption provisions aimed at accelerating deployment of 5G networks that are expected to offer higher internet speeds. It prompted immediate pushback from a wide-range of public-sector association groups and is expected to face legal challenges. "The ultimate result from this is going to significantly and negatively impact local governments’ ability to protect and serve public property, safety and welfare,” said the National Association of Counties' (NAC

FCC backs wireless firms with 5G as Philly, other towns decry subsidies

Verizon and AT&T won big at the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday as the agency voted to make it easier and cheaper to place 800,000 small antennas for super-fast 5G services on utility poles, traffic lights, sidewalks, and other public areas. Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, Calif., and other municipalities have blasted the new rules as subsidies to profitable wireless companies through low fees and mandated quick response times for 5G antenna applications that will flood local government offices. A top Philadelphia official said Wednesday that the financial impact from the FCC's action "could be substantial." The boxy 5G equipment sprouts five-foot antennas on poles or buildings.

FCC angers cities and towns with $2 billion giveaway to wireless carriers

The Federal Communications Commission's plan for spurring 5G wireless deployment will prevent city and town governments from charging carriers about $2 billion worth of fees. The FCC proposal, to be voted on at its meeting on September 26, limits the amount that local governments may charge carriers for placing 5G equipment such as small cells on poles, traffic lights, and other government property in public rights-of-way. The proposal, which is supported by the FCC's Republican majority, would also force cities and towns to act on carrier applications within 60 or 90 days. The FCC says this will spur more deployment of small cells, which "have antennas often no larger than a small backpack.

The FCC Ignores Reality in 5G Proposal

The Coalition for Local Internet Choice and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors asked for my view of the Federal Communications Commission’s pending order, proposing to cap the fees that state and local governments may charge for small-cell attachments. According to the FCC’s draft order, these price‐caps will save the industry $2 billion in costs to operate in metropolitan areas—which will translate into $2.5 billion in new wireless investment, primarily in rural areas. My judgment in this matter is based on several decades of advising institutional investors in telecommunications, my work as a municipal finance lawyer which involved structuring a number of

Cities' Input Shut Out Of Infrastructure Order, FCC Told

Local government stakeholders were silenced during the process of drafting the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming order that sets timelines and fee schedules for new small cells, and localities' views have been consistently misrepresented to the commission, according to a member of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. City attorney Kevin Pagan, who represents McAllen, Texas, told the FCC in a letter posted Monday that the draft order, which is up for a vote at the FCC's Sept. 26 meeting, doesn't reflect dissenting opinions within one of the BDAC's working groups and casts local government leaders as if they concurred with other industry participants on matters of FCC auth

Across the U.S., 5G Runs Into Local Resistance

Residents of Denver’s Riviera apartments were surprised earlier this year when a roughly 30-foot-tall green pole appeared a few feet in front of their building entrance. The pole, installed by Verizon Communications Inc. and laden with cellular antennas, was designed to improve cellphone service in the area, but the residents complained about the placement. Months later, it was gone. But that was just a small taste of what’s to come across the country: Millions of Americans will soon encounter similar poles or notice antennas sprouting on existing structures, like utility poles, street lamps and traffic lights, all over their neighborhoods. All four national cellphone companies are pushing t

FCC Proposes Preemption, Fee Cap for Local Small Cell Deployment

After more than a year of deliberation, the Federal Communications Commission has released its draft Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order, focusing on state and local management of small cell wireless infrastructure deployment. The document, if approved by a majority of commissioners at the FCC’s September 26 open meeting, would enact substantial new limits on local wireless siting review. The proposal would result in huge revenue losses for local governments from small cell lease agreements, new unfunded mandates and a loss of local control over issues like undergrounding, negotiations for public benefits and the ability to fully control the appearance of city streets. The proposal

FCC Prepares to Push Forward With Streamlining 5G Deployment

A Federal Communications Commission member announced a proposed order Tuesday that would limit the fees municipalities can charge providers to deploy fifth-generation wireless infrastructure, as well as shorten application review periods. Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, highlighted his plan in a speech before the Indiana Senate—Indianapolis having recently been selected by Verizon to pilot 5G residential service later this year. Carr said his plan would save providers $2 billion in unnecessary fees and streamline small cell deployments in both cities and underserved rural and suburban communities of all sizes. But an advocate for local government voiced concerns about the as-yet-unr

FCC Proposing More Big Boosts for Small Cells

The FCC will vote later this month on a proposal to further streamline the buildout of wireless broadband and the rollout of 5G, via those small cell deployments. 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. It: 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 ch

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