Pai: ‘Dumb Pipes’ Won’t Make Cities ‘Smart’ for 5G

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The FCC is questioning how state and local governments can impact the speed and cost of broadband infrastructure deployment in order to reform those processes. As FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explained to attendees of a broadband seminar in Stockholm on Monday, one proposal would deem an application is granted if not acted on within a certain time frame by a state or local government.

The FCC is looking at its own rules too, to see what can be done to minimize costs and delays. “The bottom line is this: Rules that were designed for 100-foot towers might not make sense for small cells that you can hold in your hands,” said Pai. “And we don’t want governments to channel the grim reaper in Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 all-time classic The Seventh Seal, decreeing ‘Nothing escapes me. No one escapes me.’”

When thinking about the infrastructure needed for 5G, regulators also must recognize something many people often don’t: Innovation isn’t limited to the so-called “edge” of networks, remarked Pai. Innovation within networks is also critical, especially in the mobile space.

“To realize the 5G future, we need smart infrastructure, not dumb pipes,” said the Chairman. “Dumb pipes won’t bring us smart cities. We need to make sure our rules recognize this reality.”

June 27, 2017

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