FCC's 5G Rollout Proposal Will Help U.S. Lead the Technology Race

The Federal Communications Commission’s push for the U.S. to lead the way in 5G wireless technology is paying dividends for American businesses and taxpayers, and the recent proposal from FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr to expedite and streamline network deployment will see these benefits realized more quickly. The FCC will vote on the proposal in a matter of weeks, and its success will boost the economy, usher in game-changing innovation, and save billions of dollars.

Until now local government bureaucrats have been abusing their authority to drag out permitting processes and charge exorbitant fees to wireless companies rolling out networks in their communities . Sadly many jurisdictions across the country approach 5G network deployment as though the permitting process that applies to large cell towers should also apply to this generation’s small-cell technology that is no bigger than the size of a pizza box. Commissioner Carr’s proposal addresses these problems, providing guidance to localities on infrastructure permitting reviews better suited to small-cell technology, opposing unreasonable fees on wireless providers deploying 5G, and establishing “shot clocks” to guarantee timely local reviews of wireless infrastructure proposals. To put it simply, this plan will bring relief to businesses, consumers and taxpayers alike.

An analysis conducted by Corning Incorporated and submitted to the FCC predicted that this proposal will save over $2 billion in red tape bureaucracy costs to businesses, enabling faster rollout to communities in need. And on top of that, as we’ve highlighted before, taxpayers at the state and local levels will also benefit from 5G network deployment as governments become more efficient with their own services, such as sanitation and traffic management.

The FCC’s work on 5G deployment this year (Commissioner Carr in particular) has been encouraging. In March, the FCC implemented an order that sped up reviews for 5G technology rollouts by exempting small cells from the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act reviews, thus cutting unnecessary red tape for network deployment. NTU supported that measure, and this new proposal from Commissioner Carr  will ensure that government continues to get out of the way while consumers experience better, faster wireless service, the U.S. economy grows, and taxpayers save money.