With China, South Korea and others looking to unseat the U.S. as the world leader in wireless, we need policymakers to act quickly and help by implementing modern rules for modern networks. The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), introduced by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Schatz (D-HI) takes a critical step in that direction by setting national guidelines for 5G infrastructure deployment, while preserving the rights and authorities of state and local governments. This balanced and forward-looking approach should be commended.
The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act updates decades-old federal rules to reflect the scale and ease of small cell installations by setting three main siting guidelines:
Siting authorities should process applications in a reasonable amount of time.
The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act sets a 90-day (60 day for equipment that is installed on existing infrastructure) timeline for localities to approve, deny or otherwise act on an infrastructure siting application. If an application is not acted on in that time, the bill eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming litigation. The bill also provides appropriate and targeted relief for very small communities by setting longer timelines.
Fees for processing siting applications should be sensible and cost-based.
The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act requires that local governments retain the right to charge for access to government-owned property for infrastructure siting purposes, and that such rates need only be fair and reasonable, competitively and technologically neutral, based on actual costs, and publicly disclosed. Such common-sense standards will allow for fair and clear treatment of infrastructure applications, driving greater broadband deployment to more and more communities.
All siting applications should be reviewed under fair, transparent standards. The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act clarifies existing federal law, designed to prevent unreasonable prohibitions on broadband deployment, by stating that unfair or overly broad restrictions—like unreasonable and discriminatory application review guidelines—are prohibited as barriers to the broadband deployment we want as a nation.
The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act is an important step in setting clear guidance for federal, state and local governments to build efficient siting processes and bring the power of 5G to communities across the country.
Kelly Cole is Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for CTIA – The Wireless Association. This article is an excerpt from a blog of hers. Read more at https://www.ctia.org/news/modern-rules-are-needed-to-build-our-wireless-future