FCC Proceeding to Promote Infrastructure Deployment
Thursday, April 20, 2017 | Comments

The FCC opened a proceeding to identify and address unnecessary regulatory barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment. The commission’s goal is to promote the rapid deployment of advanced wireless broadband service to all Americans. 

The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) begins an examination of how state and local processes affect the speed and cost of infrastructure deployment and asks for comment on improving state and local infrastructure reviews, such as zoning requests. Among other things, the NPRM seeks comment on whether siting applications that are not acted on by state or local governments within a reasonable period of time should be “deemed granted” by FCC rules.

The NPRM also examines FCC rules and procedures for complying with the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The commission seeks input on the costs and benefits inherent in the historic preservation and environmental review processes as structured and asks what changes could be made to minimize costs and delays. 

In a notice of inquiry, the FCC asks for comment on two provisions of the Communications Act, Sections 253 and 332, that acknowledge the importance of state and local regulation, but also protect against regulations that impose barriers to entry or are otherwise unreasonable. 

Current and next-generation wireless broadband have the potential to bring enormous benefits to the U.S., supporting millions of jobs and billions of dollars in investment. To continue to meet demand and to achieve the potential of next-generation services, wireless providers will depend on having a regulatory framework that promotes and facilitates network infrastructure deployment. 

AT&T released a statement in favor of the proceeding. “Today, the FCC takes bold steps toward speeding the deployment of small cell technologies, setting the stage for 5G innovation and deployment,” said Joan Marsh, AT&T senior vice president of federal regulatory. “The NPRM adopted today asks critical questions about how to remove excessive regulatory burdens when deploying small cell equipment in public rights-of-way.”

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