Carr Sees Tower Compound Expansion Problems Close-Up

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FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr visited a Virginia cell tower Wednesday owned by WIA member Community Wireless Structures (CWS). The visit demonstrated how streamlining the rules for compound expansion is needed to expedite wireless infrastructure deployment, especially for public safety and 5G. 

“Clearly, we need to expedite the regulatory process for compound expansion to support consumers’ demand for additional capacity and increased resiliency,” said Carr. “We should take advantage of existing ground sites for infrastructure that have already gone through extensive review. Limited, sensible compound expansion is an efficient way to make sure sites that are already approved for wireless infrastructure are put to their full potential use.” 

“Co-location on structures, and in compounds, that already exist is essential for the next wave of wireless build-out,” said Tam Murray, CWS Founder and Managing Member, and WIA Board Member. “Many compounds are simply not large enough for the coming demands for ground space – such as generators for backup power, edge data centers and small cell hubs. Limited enlargement of compounds will help us quickly deploy 5G and public safety equipment with no community impact since these sites are already approved for wireless infrastructure.”  

WIA is glad Carr is dedicated to learning what it takes “to make the best decisions to maintain our nation’s wireless leadership,” said WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “We were glad that the Commissioner visited a location that so clearly displays how new FCC rules up for a vote this month are needed. This compound is filled up with equipment, which means if new carriers or competitors want to join or add backup generators or 5G capabilities, more space is needed.”

The new rules, according to Adelstein, would reduce barriers to make minor expansions to the existing compound feasible. “Thirty feet is a small amount of space to expand, but it will have a big impact for our nation’s 5G upgrades,” he explained. 

The Commission will consider a Report and Order at next week’s October meeting that, if adopted, will accelerate 5G deployment by providing means for modifications to existing tower compounds involving limited ground expansion of up to 30 feet without potentially extensive, lengthy, and costly local review.  

“Over the past year, WIA has prioritized clarification of key definitions to close loopholes that have hindered 5G deployments, as well as modification of siting rules to promote collocation and installations for critical public safety facilities,” said Adelstein. “WIA appreciates the FCC’s diligent work to clear the path for 5G swiftly and efficiently across the country.”

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