The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an order last week to accelerate the national approval process for deploying 5G small cells, according to the FCC.
Small cells are advanced radio hardware required for 5G networks.
The order, which was proposed by the FCC under Tom Wheeler in August 2016, aims to loosen regulations on 5G deployments in the US.
Previously, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) were required to review small cell installations. Under the new order, the majority of small cells will be exempt from NEPA and NHPA reviews, while larger cellular towers used by previous networks will undergo a streamlined process.
As the global race to 5G heats up, the new order will be key in reinforcing the US as a leader in the next generation network for two key reasons:
It will accelerate the rollout of small cell installations.Along with streamlining the review process, FCC officials will now have timeframes to act on the review process. This will prevent approvals from taking too long, speeding up deployment of the more than 800,000 small cell sites projected through 2026, according to Accenture.
It will reduce the cost of deploying small cells.The federal review process accounts for nearly 30% of single small cell deployment costs, and the cost per review is expected to increase year-over-year with an inflation growth assumption of 3%, Accenture reports. Eliminating this step will save at least $1.56 billion during the entire 5G rollout process. And while just 0.33% of federal reviews resulted in changes to planned deployments, they cost providers $36 million in 2017.
The FCC is looking into other ways to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans at MWC to launch new auctions of high-band spectrum in November 2018 to fast-track deployment of 5G networks in the US, according to The Wall Street Journal. To make this plan a reality, Pai must first get congressional approval by May 13 to allow the Treasury Department to hold pre-payments from US carriers.
That’s because big banks are no longer willing to hold pre-auction payments from carriers due to capitalization and collateralization requirements. Going forward with spectrum auctions will be key in keeping the US at the forefront of 5G deployment, according to a joint statement by US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Representative Marsha Blackburn.
Source: Business Insider