Politicians pressed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay a vote on a proposal to accelerate tower upgrades for 5G, arguing local governments need more time to comment.

Members of Congress told FCC chairman Ajit Pai state and local officials “cannot be expected to conduct a meaningful review and respond to an item of this nature within the very limited time provided by the FCC”, particularly while they are tackling the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

They expressed concern proceeding without adequate input could make it harder for local officials to balance “their responsibilities to public safety and community design” with a desire to ensure people have access to affordable and modern mobile networks.

The FCC proposal introduced in late May covers what equipment requires fresh planning permission; aesthetic conditions local authorities can impose; and when a 60-day timeline for approval of upgrades should begin. A vote is scheduled for 9 June.

In a tweet, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks backed the request as “reasonable”, but Commissioner Brendan Carr highlighted support to move ahead from another group of politicians, who argue promotion of broadband deployments was a “top priority for Congress”.