The FCC has voted to clarify rules governing the process for local and state governments to review wireless infrastructure modifications.
Few wireless technologies have been as controversial as 5G. The next generation of wireless technology has been lauded as revolutionary, ushering in gigabit-class speeds that will redefine many industries.
At the same time, some scientists have warned of potential health dangers posed by the new technology. Some governments have even gone so far as to impose a moratorium on 5G rollouts until more research can be done. On the other hand, studies by government regulators and international watchdog agencies have found 5G to be safe. That hasn’t stopped conspiracy theories from multiplying, however, resulting in 5G towers being vandalized and social media companies taking steps to stem the misinformation.
To help prevent any unnecessary delays in 5G rollouts on the part of local governments, the FCC is clarifying the Spectrum Act of 2012 rules. Those rules ensure that local and state governments will approve requests to change wireless sites within 60 days, as long as those changes don’t “substantially change the physical dimensions of that structure.” The new rules make it harder for governments to take issue with changes to wireless sites, ensuring more of them are eligible for streamlined treatment.
The FCC’s decision was split along party lines, with the two dissenters pointing out what they believed to be “an unfair burden on the local governments” as they struggle with the effects of “a deadly virus, economic calamity, and civil unrest.” The two dissenting opinions also voiced concern that the “clarification” was poorly executed and only serves to create further confusion.
Only time will tell if the FCC’s latest decision helps or hurts 5G deployment.