WIA Applauds FCC, ACHP, NCSHPO for Breakthrough on Compound Expansion

ARLINGTON, Va – The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) for working together to promote 5G deployment by harmonizing historic preservation rules. The FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO today announced an agreement that will streamline processes, making it easier to upgrade networks with new equipment at existing tower sites. 

“WIA and the entire wireless infrastructure industry are elated that this successful collaboration will harmonize the rules so collocations on existing tower sites are allowed similar ground space expansion rights as permitted to the tower structure. This further clears the way for new wireless infrastructure to get upgraded quickly and efficiently in the race to 5G,” said WIA Chairman David Weisman, Chief Executive Officer, InSite Wireless Group, LLC. 

“This tremendous collaboration between the FCC, the ACHP, and NCSHPO is a breakthrough in the wall of obstacles to 5G. This action is the result of many years of diligent work by the agencies to promote using existing sites to accelerate broadband deployment and to upgrade networks to 5G services,” said WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “When combined with the FCC’s proposed compound expansion rulemaking, the road is cleared for the siting of generators, mobile edge computing, carrier collocations, competitive operator equipment, and more. In tandem with the rulemaking, it removes federal and local roadblocks for siting the equipment needed to maximize the benefits of 5G in the U.S. and win the global race to 5G.” 

Many tower sites, some of which have stood for decades, no longer have the physical space on the ground to house critical equipment like backup generators for public safety or edge data centers and other new equipment necessary for 5G networks. These updates from the FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO will allow for minimal expansions of the physical space at the tower site, which will allow for the placement of equipment needed to expand 5G and connectivity. 

This action corrects a quirk in the regulations that allows for compound expansions of up to 30 feet when replacing a tower (“drop and swap”) without an extensive historic review but does not allow corresponding compound expansions for simply collocating additional equipment. The FCC is working to correct that discrepancy for collocations with the recently passed 5G Upgrade Order, which established a rulemaking proceeding to allow for the same non-substantial compound expansions of up to 30 feet for collocations. Today’s action from the FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO harmonizes the historic preservations rules with an agreement that will support wireless infrastructure builds while continuing to protect historic properties. It does so by amending the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation NPA) that the FCC, ACHP, and the NCSHPO entered into in 2001. The Collocation NPA establishes streamlined reviews for infrastructure projects covered by that agreement.

Find the document here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365617A1.pdf=


About WIA
The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) represents the businesses that build, own, and operate the nation’s wireless infrastructure. On the federal, state, and local levels, WIA advocates for the widespread, responsible deployment of wireless infrastructure to enable mobile broadband access for communities everywhere. 

Contact: Amy-Gabrielle Bartolac | Public Affairs Manager
703-621-0527 | Amy-Gabrielle.Bartolac@wia.org