Newly confirmed FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced Thursday that the agency will begin taking steps to streamline the permit review process for wireless infrastructure next month.
Carr told the Competitive Carriers Association Convention in Fort Worth that the November meeting agenda will include a measure to eliminate historic preservation review requirements “in cases where providers swap out utility poles that can hold antennas or other wireless communications equipment.”
Carr, who indicated he will lead the FCC’s wireless infrastructure efforts, told CCA members in his first official address following his confirmation that the November order would help companies deploy the smaller cell sites needed to build next-generation networks.
He also said the proposal would be “the first of a series of orders that will streamline the deployment of wireless infrastructure,” and suggested that the FCC needed to step in due to obstacles at the local level. He particularly criticized California Gov. Jerry Brown for his veto of a statewide siting measure earlier this month.
A number of carriers have complained of running into siting barriers at the state and local level.
“5G is going to require a 10- to 100-fold increase in the number of cell sites in the country,” Carr said. “The current regime is not tailored to support this type of massive, new deployment. It costs too much and it takes too long.”
He also said that many smaller wireless providers are limited by the FCC’s reporting mandates and said that the agency earlier this year began the process of “eliminating a number of unnecessary paperwork requirements.”
Other key FCC steps toward the development of 5G in the U.S., Carr said, would include an “all-of-the-above” approach to increasing the amount of spectrum available to wireless providers.
And although the agency does not have a direct role in labor issues, he vowed to help highlight the importance of apprenticeships and job training programs in ensuring that highly trained workers are able to build new 5G infrastructure.
“If we get the right policies in place, this transition could mean $275 billion in network investment, three million new jobs and a half a trillion dollars added to the GDP,” Carr said.
Filed Under: Industry regulations