Do you have any thoughts on how the FCC should streamline the process for siting small cells and distributed antenna systems? Mobilitie does and asked the Commission to rule on its petition to streamline the process, especially where it concerns public right-of-ways.
The agency acknowledges that the facilities used in these networks are smaller than traditional cell towers and antennas but must be deployed more densely to function effectively. “As a result, local land-use authorities in many areas are facing substantial increases in the volume of siting applications,” says the FCC, which expects this trend to continue and accelerate as wireless carriers begin rolling out 5G.
“This creates a dilemma,” adds the agency, because localities play an important role in preserving local interests like aesthetics and safety. In Montgomery County, Maryland for example, county officials have about 200 pending applications and has had more applications filed in the past four months than in the past 18 years,” according to the County Council.
In 2009, the Commission decided that a reasonable amount of time for state or local governments to process collocation applications is 90 days and 150 days to process all other siting applications, including DAS and small cells. If the local authorities haven’t acted by then, the provider may seek relief in the courts.
Now, the FCC is asking for comment on whether those timeframes are too short or too long for small cell siting and on how often local land-use authorities deny siting applications and why. The agency also seeks public input on a proposal from Mobilitie that, among other things, suggests that compensation for public rights-of-way be publicly disclosed.
Comments to WT Docket 16-421 are due by February 6.
January 5, 2017