Sprint and networking contractor Mobilitie will be required to pay a settlement to close out multiple Federal Communications Commision (FCC) investigations relating to both companies. The investigations followed the discovery that Sprint had contracted Mobilitie to deploy wireless network equipment without meeting regulatory requirements. That's according to a recently released newsletter from the FCC. More directly, the network infrastructure in question also required that the companies seek environmental and historic preservation reviews before being built out. Although no details were given about the specific build-outs, the commission says that deploying communications towers or small cell systems requires those and Tribal consultations.
Although it isn't unlikely that more punitive measures could have been taken against either company, the settlement itself seems to be relatively light. Both companies were required to commit themselves to ensure that their network construction follows all current laws and regulations. For the time being, that means enhancing their procedures pertaining to any build-out requiring environmental and historic preservation reviews. The reviews stem from the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Taken in combination, those are effectively intended to ensure that reviews are completed to determine whether network facilities and infrastructure will have a measurable effect on the environment or historical properties – such as flood-plains, Tribal sites, or other sites of cultural significance. The sites in question also required registration with the FCC before being constructed. Sprint and Mobilitie appear to have failed to follow proper procedure on both counts, leading to an investigation and this settlement.They'll also be paying fees totaling up to $11.6 million. Sprint will pay the bulk of that, at $10 million, in accordance with the agreement. Mobilitie will pay the remaining $1.6 million.
Sprint has previously allocated a substantial sum of its capital expenditures over the coming months toward the continued growth of its network, including small cell sites. This is certainly not its first major network upgrade by any means. So it seems a bit odd that the company would choose to shirk the normal operating procedures for completing new cell build-outs.he company has also complained to the FCC in recent months about the costs of the required reviews. However, it's still unclear whether this was the result of oversight or a deliberate rebellion to those regulations.