FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Outlines Next Steps on 5G Deployment

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr described the next steps the Commission will take to encourage 5G deployment during remarks at the Indiana Statehouse on Sept. 4.

5G could prove one of the most transformational standards in the history of technology. But, as promising as 5G is, it’s only as good as the infrastructure on which it’s deployed. 5G will involve up to 100 times more antenna locations than 3G or 4G, meaning that all manner of infrastructure is needed. Fully realizing the potential of 5G depends on how efficiently it gets deployed.

And the wireless industry stands ready to make the investments needed to build the most advanced network in the world – as much as $275 billion to build out 5G. It’ll lead to 3 million new jobs and a $500 billion boost to the GDP.

Commissioner Carr is leading the FCC’s efforts on 5G infrastructure deployment and he picked Indiana for a reason. Indiana is emerging as a nationwide leader in wireless technology, and it is setting an example for proactive, streamlined regulation. Because of the state’s policy decisions, in the past month, two of the nation’s largest wireless carriers announced plans to deploy 5G-capable technology in Indiana by the end of this year. In fact, 1,000 small cells have already been deployed across 30 communities in the Hoosier State. Similar legislative actions have taken place in 19 other states and increased investment in 5G infrastructure will likely follow.

“5G Networks will look much different than those legacy networks of the past. Upwards of 80% of new deployments will be small cells with antennas no larger than a small backpack. These small cells can be attached to existing light poles or buildings and blend into their surroundings,” Commissioner Carr said.

Commissioner Carr described small cells as the “building blocks to 5G” and emphasized the need for siting processes that are not unduly burdensome or costly. Based on this need, and the progress already made in 20 states, he announced his plan to introduce the FCC’s next 5G Order.

The FCC’s plan as described by Commissioner Carr consists of four main components:

  1. Implements a long-standing federal law that bars municipal rules that have the effect of prohibiting deployment of wireless service.
  2. Allows municipalities to charge fees for reviewing small cell deployments when such fees are limited to recovering the municipalities’ costs, and provides guidance on specific fee levels that would comply with this standard.
  3. Requires municipalities to approve or disapprove applications to attach small cells to existing structures within 60 days and applications to build new small cell poles within 90 days.
  4. Places modest guardrails on other municipal rules that may prohibit service while reaffirming localities’ traditional roles in, for example, reasonable aesthetic reviews.

The steps the FCC is taking recognize the important role wireless infrastructure will play in enabling next-generation wireless broadband. Wireless infrastructure will help the United States continue to be the global leader in wireless innovation and investment.

A leader on this issue, Commissioner Carr proclaimed that “this next-generation network can create jobs, enable a 21st century education for our kids and improve access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. 5G will offer mobile data speeds that we have never seen before – perhaps 100 times faster than 4G service.” The new 5G Order will be voted on at the Sept. 26 Open Meeting.