Wednesday, June 10, 2020

FCC Approves 5G Upgrade Ruling in Heated Session

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief By a quarrelsome 3-to-2 vote, the FCC yesterday approved an order to modernize wireless infrastructure. Specifically, the Declaratory Ruling specifies when a 60-day shot clock for local approval begins and clarifies Section 6409 of the Spectrum Act to enable upgrades on existing macro towers.

The ruling also clarifies how certain aspects of proposed modifications – height increases, equipment cabinet additions, and impact on concealment elements and aesthetic conditions – affect eligibility for streamlined review under Section 6409(a).  In addition, the action clarifies that, under the Commission’s rules on environmental and historic preservation review, FCC applicants do not need to submit environmental assessments based only on potential impacts to historic properties when parties have entered into a memorandum of agreement to mitigate effects on those properties.

The so-called “5G Upgrade Order” also says which new equipment qualifies for streamlined approval. It ensures localities can’t misuse concealment and aesthetic conditions to limit the ability to quickly upgrade concealed infrastructure, according to the agency. Continue Reading

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