PCIA Applauds FCC’s Order on Wireless Infrastructure – Streamlined Rules Will Speed Broadband Deployment

October 17, 2014/ Alexandria, VA – Jonathan Adelstein, the President and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, today commended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its unanimous adoption of an Order to promote the deployment of wireless infrastructure.

“The FCC’s action today will ease the ‘wireless data crunch,’ accelerate the build-out of world-class wireless networks, create U.S. job and economic growth, and strengthen America’s global competitiveness,” said Adelstein, whose 200-plus member trade association consists of wireless infrastructure providers, wireless carriers, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators and professional services firms.

Today’s Order, Adelstein pointed out, culminates a multi-year effort by PCIA, and a three-year FCC effort on its Broadband Acceleration Initiative. It is aimed at facilitating the building and upgrading of wireless networks by updating the federal regulatory framework, streamlining regulatory compliance, and eliminating obstacles to rights-of-way access.

“This is one of the most significant and comprehensive initiatives in the history of the FCC to expedite on-the-ground deployment of wireless broadband infrastructure,” said Adelstein, a former FCC Commissioner.

“Chairman Wheeler, with strong bipartisan support, today reduced and, in some cases, eliminated obstacles to achieving one of America’s biggest economic priorities: expanding wireless broadband networks.

“By clarifying the rules for upgrading technology on existing sites, streamlining environmental and historic preservation review processes for smaller antenna facilities, and tightening the FCC’s ‘shot clock’ that sets time periods for state and local government siting application review, the FCC has set clear rules of the road that favor build-out over red tape. This infuses greater certainty into overall processes, which will spur greater investment in wireless broadband,” Adelstein said.

The pervasive use of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other wireless devices has spawned what Adelstein calls a “wireless data crunch,” resulting from tremendous increases in mobile data consumption that will only grow as Americans demand more bandwidth to accommodate next-generation technologies and applications.

“The U.S. wireless infrastructure industry is more than doing its part,” Adelstein said. “We’re investing $35 billion annually, using private capital to strengthen and expand our networks to meet the wireless data crunch head-on. More infrastructure is indispensable to keep America’s wireless networks up to speed, especially with the spectrum constraints that we face for years to come.

“Today Chairman Wheeler and his fellow Commissioners are getting ahead of the curve by forging policy that will expedite the deployment of wireless networks,” Adelstein said.

The specific provisions of the Order include:

• Defining the terms of Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act and developing rules for its implementation at the state and local level, including a new shot clock during which an application must be addressed or it is deemed granted. This ensures the efficient use of previously-approved structures to support new antennas and technology upgrades;

• Excluding certain distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells and other discrete wireless facilities from environmental and historic preservation review, particularly for those deployments leveraging utility poles in rights-of-way and building rooftops;

• Clarifying the shot clock and defining wireless facility siting application processes, including applying the shot clock to DAS and small cells, limiting when additional application information can be requested and clarifying when the shot clock begins and when it can be tolled;

• Removing barriers to the deployment of temporary towers to boost coverage for large gatherings like festivals and rallies.

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PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association represents the companies that build, design, own and manage telecommunications facilities throughout the world. Its over 200 members include carriers, infrastructure providers, equipment manufacturers, systems integrators and professional services firms.