Environmental Studies or More Service?

CARR ON THE ROAD – FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr traveled to Virginia on Tuesday to hear from a wireless company pushing to make sure its rural customers don’t get left behind in the race to 5G. Shentel, which was started by farmers in 1902 who wanted better phone service, told the GOP commissioner that it plans to spend $35 million deploying more than 140 larger cell equipment along with a first-time push to build out 20 small cells this year. Small cells are expected to be key in the rollout of 5G because they will be able to augment capacity over short distances. The company said the small cells could boost capacity at university football stadiums and for small businesses. The deployment is important to meeting the growing data demands of Shentel’s customers, who use an average 10G of data per month and, in some cases, have no residential broadband connection. “Their wireless phone is their only lifeline for any semblance of broadband,” said Dan Meenan, Shentel vice president of wireless network development.

– Shentel supports Carr’s plan, up for a vote at the agency’s March 22 meeting, that would exclude small cells from federal environmental and historic reviews. The federal reviews for the large equipment cost Shentel between $15,000 and $20,000 per site, Meenan said. Saving that money could allow the company to deploy an additional 13 sites. “This is what’s going to push the boundaries and make it more economical,” Carr told Margaret, who was along for the ride. “It really does shift the business case. If you can get 13 more cell sites in the Shenandoah Valley … for the people here, that’s a big deal.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

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