Federal regulators are expected to vote on a plan that will speed up the next-generation 5G wireless networks throughout the United States by overriding local rules that could stall deployment, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to approve the proposed plan at the end of September.
The plan is expected to enhance small cellular transmitter deployment. These backpack-sized devices figure to be a key factor in the 5G infrastructure. However, the placement of these devices could face local delays and high fees under current regulations.
Telecom companies have called the local rules burdensome and U.S. national security officials have raised concerns that China and other nations could be pulling ahead of the U.S. in the race to create 5G networks and applications.
FCC Commissioner Brandon Carr recently announced a 5G deployment plan that would limit local government fees to the actual costs of reviewing deployment applications. The plan would also give municipalities 60 days to approve or disapprove applications to attach small cells to current structures.
The FCC’s plan relies on a long-time federal law that prohibits municipal rules that prevent wireless service deployment. According to the FCC, its plan proposes just modest limitations on what it considers, “outlier conduct.”
Commissioner Carr forecasted the FCC’s decision would save about $2 billion in “red tape” and stimulate $2.5 billion in additional investments. Meanwhile, FCC officials believe their efforts will lead to more deployment in the rural and lower income communities that some are concerned faster next-generation networks will leave behind.
The FCC selected Indianapolis to announce its proposed plan because of the state’s recent attempt to streamline the local rules that were impacting 5G deployment.
“Forward-looking policies can bring next-gen networks to the people that might otherwise miss out on the opportunity broadband enables,” Commissioner Carr said during his announcement.
“You proved that here in Indiana. Using your ideas to reform our approach at the FCC will connect more communities across the country, and it will help America win the global race to 5G.”
The FCC’s proposal will not come without controversy, however. A lot of local officials have expressed concern they could lose a valuable revenue source and also be forced to give up control, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Local groups such as the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have asked FCC officials not to restrict them too tightly.
“When local governments authorize private use of public property, they have a right and a duty to residents to charge a sufficient rent for for-profit use of public assets,” a coalition of local government groups said in a regulatory filing after a recent meeting with Carr.