FCC Marches Forward With 5G Plan – Local Control?

The agency will take up an order today meant to drive down the regulatory costs for deploying 5G infrastructure by scrapping some federal reviews, despite calls for a delay from Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Democrats in Congress. The wireless industry has cheered the move, led by Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr, which would exempt from federal environmental and historic reviews the small-cell wireless antennas that will deliver 5G service. But tribes, which can charge fees for siting on areas outside of reservations, say the FCC is wrong to cut them out of the review process, Margaret reports.

Democratic Sens. Tom Udall, Maria Cantwell and Tina Smith and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan urged the commission to delay its vote over concerns from tribes, saying in a letter that the order confuses “streamlining with steamrolling.” But wireless trade group CTIA, which backs the order, said the FCC has found the right balance. “The FCC’s action is targeted and long overdue and modernizing the process will help deliver faster wireless broadband deployment across the country while still safeguarding areas of importance to Tribal Nations,” a CTIA spokesperson said.

Also up for a vote is a proposal for a database that businesses can check to see if a phone number has been reassigned to a new consumer before placing a call, and an order that would lift the personal-use restriction on wireless signal boosters so that businesses can also use them.

Oh, and speaking of 5G, the wireless industry is going wild for the newly introduced RAPID Act from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), which directs the FCC to reexamine broadband deployments subject to environmental and historical reviews within a 180-day period. Carr lauded the bill for ensuring the FCC updates “outdated regulatory approaches.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

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