New FCC Rules Streamline Wireless Infrastructure Review Process
Friday, March 23, 2018 | Comments

The FCC adopted new rules streamlining the wireless infrastructure siting review process to facilitate the deployment of next-generation wireless facilities.

The FCC said it consulted with a wide range of communities to determine the appropriate steps needed to enable the rapid and efficient deployment of next-generation 5G wireless networks throughout the United States.

The order focuses on ensuring the commission’s rules properly address the differences between large and small wireless facilities, and clarifies the treatment of small cell deployments.

Specifically, the order:
• Excludes small wireless facilities deployed on non-tribal lands from National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, concluding that these facilities are not “undertakings” or “major federal actions.” Small wireless facilities deployments continue to be subject to applicable state and local government approval requirements.

• Clarifies and makes improvements to the process for tribal participation in Section 106 historic preservation reviews for large wireless facilities where NHPA/NEPA review is still required.

• Removes the requirement that applicants file environmental assessments solely because of the location of a proposed facility in a floodplain, as long as certain conditions are met.
• Establishes timeframes for the commission to act on environmental assessments.

The actions will reduce regulatory impediments to deploying small cells needed for 5G and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service and other advanced wireless technologies to more American, the FCC said.

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