5G and Beyond

Industry cheers FCC's legal victory in small cell battle

A federal appeals court mostly upheld FCC rules issued in 2018 on how 5G operators can deploy small cells, Reuters reported.

The ruling generated plenty of excitement among those supporting the FCC's small cell guidelines:

A spokesperson representing the local officials who had filed a lawsuit against the FCC's rules did not immediately return requests for comment.

The FCC sparked the legal dust-up with rules intended to limit the amount of money cities could charge wireless network operators for the installation of small cells. The rules also require cities to move quickly on small cell installation requests.

While a number of cities around the country have welcomed small cells and 5G as high-tech investments that can improve residents' lives, other localities argued the rules amounted to federal overreach into local regulations. That view sparked a lawsuit against the FCC's rules earlier this year.

The FCC's new legal victory could help smooth out the deployment of small cells around the country. That's undoubtedly welcome news to companies like Mobilitie, Verizon and Crown Castle, which are investing millions of dollars to deploy such infrastructure.

Indeed, Crown Castle recently reiterated its support for its small cell strategy, arguing the US market will reach 1 million small cells by 2024. That's an outlook even more optimistic than the one issued by US wireless trade group CTIA in 2018.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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