Industry Praises FCC Compound Expansion, 5G Votes

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Industry reacted favorably to Tuesday’s FCC votes to streamline compound expansion rules and create a rural 5G fund.

Wireless Infrastructure Association President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein called the compound expansion vote key to expediting wireless infrastructure deployment. “Streamlining rules for co-location is crucial for emergency communications to ensure public safety and for the U.S. to remain competitive in the race to 5G. The FCC’s action reduces barriers for sensible, limited expansions to existing tower sites, which should be the easiest work to get approved,” he said. “This decision will accelerate the deployment of 5G by providing means for modifications to existing tower compounds involving limited site expansion without unnecessary and potentially extensive and costly local reviews,” Adelstein added.  

 According to WIA, the changes mean promoting co-location will begin immediately “for 5G and public safety equipment like new competitors, edge data centers, small cell hubs, and emergency generators that have negligible environmental impact.” In a newsletter to members, WIA points out the association has long sought for these changes “as many tower sites do not have enough space on the ground to accommodate additional equipment for their existing tenants, or enough space on the ground for additional equipment for a new tenant.” 

WIA members such as SBA, Crown Castle, American Tower, AT&T, and Zayo wrote to the agency to support the changes in the weeks leading up to the vote.

CTIA, too, sought the changes. “By clarifying the compound expansion rules, the FCC is empowering providers to upgrade existing facilities with next-generation equipment to support the emerging 5G economy,” said CTIA SVP Regulatory Affairs Scott Bergmann.

Of the rural 5G fund, he said: “Through the order, the FCC will harness new maps and existing universal service funds to help ensure that rural consumers benefit from revolutionary 5G services.”

Competitive Carriers Association President/CEO Steve Berry commended the Commission for making the mapping process a priority of the rural 5G fund. “Updating the maps with more reliable data is an essential first step before distributing funds. We look forward to seeing the full details as they are made available, and CCA will continue to work with Congress to fully fund the Broadband DATA Act to better understand where support is needed and whether the budget is sufficient.”

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