The construction of cell phone towers that are no taller than 50 feet in height may accelerate nationally in the wake of a new ruling by the Federal Communications Commission easing regulations for such structures.
Noting that up to $275 billion is expected to be invested in the next decade on what is called “next generation wireless infrastructure development,” the commission contends that an easing of regulations will prove a catalyst for the accelerated development of such projects.
“The record reveals substantial evidence of a regulatory process that is needlessly adding millions of dollars to the cost of infrastructure development,” so says the FCC ruling, entitled Accelerating Wireless Broadband by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Development.
The document adds that current regulations have been harming development during a time when the country “finds itself at the brink of another technological revolution,” noting the advent of increased internet coverage as well as self-driving cars.
The FCC order will free up construction for structures that are no more than 10 percent taller than existing surrounding structures, with volumetric limits on such facilities set at 3 cubic feet for the antenna and 28 cubic feet for any wireless equipment that is a part of the antenna.
“Small cell deployments cost too much, and the regulatory approval process takes too long,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a public statement.
“Our updated approach to small cells could reduce the regulatory costs of deployment by 80 percent, while cutting deployment times by more than half,” Carr added.
The FCC order will exclude small wireless construction projects from both environmental as well as historic review procedures.
By Garry Boulard
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