The Trump administration on Monday backed speeding up regulatory reviews of small cell sites and WiFi equipment as part of a proposal to invest in infrastructure.
The White House’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal includes $200 billion in funding designed to spur state and local spending on infrastructure projects. The provision largely targets roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure, but the administration’s list of infrastructure principles also calls for expediting wireless equipment reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
“Small cells and WiFi attachments do not have an environmental footprint, nor do they disturb the environment or historic property,” the White House wrote. “However, despite this lack of impact, small cells and WiFi attachments typically go through the same level of analysis and review [as large towers], which needlessly adds both delays and costs to the process.”
The White House argues that federal funding would generate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure upgrades, but lawmakers — who generally disregard the budget proposals before crafting their own — are reportedly skeptical.
Members from both parties, as well as federal regulators, however, previously voiced support for exempting some telecom infrastructure projects from environmental or historic review requirements.
Wireless group CTIA lauded the White House’s recognition of “the need to streamline our nation’s infrastructure siting processes.”
“U.S. wireless companies are poised to invest $275 billion to provide 5G and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to implement policies that will speed the permitting and deployment of new mobile broadband infrastructure,” CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement.
Filed Under: Industry regulations