US regulator seeks faster 5G tower upgrades - Mobile World Live

US regulator seeks faster 5G tower upgrades

20 MAY 2020

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mulled a fresh round of changes to site planning regulations to accelerate upgrades of existing tower infrastructure for 5G.

In a statement, Commissioner Brendan Carr (pictured, second from right), explained the organisation aimed to remove ambiguity from existing regulations which he said had previously hindered “what should be straightforward projects”.

He proposed new approaches regarding what equipment required fresh permissions; aesthetic conditions local authorities can impose on operators; and when a 60-day timeline for approval of upgrades should begin.

Carr told a Wireless Infrastructure Association event the updated plans would “separate the difficult project approvals from the easier ones”, noting there “shouldn’t be much concern about taking old boxes down and putting new ones up” on existing towers.

In 2018 the FCC updated regulations around placement of small cells, granting exemptions from reviews covering historic sites and environmental impacts, along with amendments to the time local authorities had to review requests and charges for these.

However, FCC chairman Ajit Pai (pictured, centre) in January said infrastructure siting remained one of the key hurdles holding back 5G deployments.

A vote on Carr’s proposal is set for 9 June.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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