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09 August 2016

Small Cells Get a Boost from FCC Agreement

Now, the FCC will spread its deadly 5G tentacles... to historic sites.

Small cells get a boost from FCC agreement
by Martha Degrasse, rcrwireless.com, 
9 August 2016

The Federal Communications Commission is eliminating requirements for historic preservation review for small cells that do not adversely impact historic sites. The agency said “physically small deployments like DAS and small cells” will be exempt from the Section 106 review process. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to consider the effects of federally funded projects on historic properties prior to the expenditure of any federal funds. Most small cells are not financed by federal funds, but historic review requirements can nonetheless delay deployments.

“The FCC is taking a big step forward by streamlining the review of small cell and distributed antenna system deployments under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act,” said Jonathan Adelstein, CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association. “This agreement shows how government entities and industry can work together to deploy wireless infrastructure while also protecting historic resources. The action the FCC takes today will enable ‘5G’ technologies of tomorrow by reducing a regulatory barrier to wireless infrastructure deployment.”

The FCC has signed an agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers to exempt small cells from historic preservation review if they do not have a negative impact on the site.

“The agreement reflects the Commission’s vigilant commitment to enabling swift but responsible deployment of wireless infrastructure,” said Jon Wilkins, chief of the FCC’s wireless telecommunications bureau. “The bureau is open for business on infrastructure siting, and we welcome input on how to further improve the siting process.”

Small cells are seen as a critical component of 5G, even though the 5G standard has not yet been established. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said the proliferation of cellular antennas is a prerequisite for 5G, and small cells are one way to achieve that goal in the United States.

“5G is a national priority, and … today’s agreement to streamline small cell deployment will play a critical role in the successful deployment of next-generation wireless service,” Wheeler said.

The new rule will apply to applications to deploy near nationally registered historic sites. Cities can designate their own historic sites, and these would not be covered by the federal agreement.


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