WASHINGTON -- Today, the Federal Communications Commission took another important step in its ongoing efforts to remove regulatory barriers that inhibit the deployment of infrastructure necessary for 5G and other advanced wireless services. This action, which builds upon those already taken by states and localities to streamline deployment, underscores the FCC’s commitment to ensuring that the United States wins the global race to 5G.
The first part of the Commission’s decision, a Declaratory Ruling, focuses primarily on local fees for the authorizations necessary to deploy small wireless facilities. Specifically, the Declaratory Ruling:
- Explains when a state or local regulation of wireless infrastructure deployment constitutes an effective prohibition of service prohibited by Sections 253 or 332(c)(7) of the Communications Act;
- Concludes that Section 253 and 332(c)(7) limit state and local governments to charging fees that are no greater than a reasonable approximation of objectively reasonable costs for processing applications and for managing deployments in the rights-of-way.
- Removes uncertainty by identifying specific fee levels for small wireless facility deployments that presumably comply with the relevant standard; and
- Provides guidance on when certain state and local non-fee requirements that are allowed under the Act—such as aesthetic and undergrounding requirements—may constitute an effective prohibition of service.
The second part of the Commission’s decision, the Third Report & Order in the Wireless Infrastructure Docket:
- Establishes two new shot clocks for small wireless facilities (60 days for collocation on preexisting structures and 90 days for new builds);
- Codifies the existing 90 and 150 day shot clocks for wireless facility deployments that do not qualify as small cells that were established in 2009;
- Concludes that all state and local government authorizations necessary for the deployment of personal wireless service infrastructure are subject to those shot clocks; and
- Adopts a new remedy for missed shot clocks by finding that a failure to act within the new small wireless facility shot clock constitutes a presumptive prohibition on the provision of services.