FCC Still Urged To Remove Small Cell Red Tape For 5G's Sake

The United States Federal Communications Commission is still being urged to remove more small cell red tape for 5G's sake, with all four national carriers in the country recently increasing their efforts to lobby in favor of such interventions. Verizon is the latest telecom giant to appeal with the regulator over the matter, having done so via a late June filing in which it complained about "exorbitant fees" certain municipalities demand for small cell installation projects despite the fact that such infrastructure is usually tacked on existing hardware and has a minimal physical footprint.

Sprint made similar complaints in recent months, together with AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon's latest appeal specifically referenced small cell attachment fees that often surpass $4,000 per year, describing such expenses as a major roadblock to timely deployment of the fifth generation of mobile networks. While the carriers previously attempted appealing with municipalities directly, they rarely even received responses to their complaints, as per their own claims. Verizon had such issues with a number of cities in Florida over the first half of the year, the network operator wrote in its latest filing with the FCC. The telecom regulator previously pledged to do more to remove small cell red tape and accelerate 5G buildout efforts moving forward but its policy has yet to amount to a concrete large-scale strategy.

Small cell stations are widely considered to be a crucial component of the 5G equation as they can reliably bounce radio signals over small areas and prevent them from being absorbed by rain, foliage, or buildings. That's precisely what millimeter-wave frequencies struggle with, yet were chosen as the backbone of the incoming wireless revolution; despite not being suitable for traveling over long distances on their own, mmWave signals can allow for significantly lower latencies and higher capacities compared to existing 4G LTE solutions. American carriers will start their initial 5G deployment efforts later this year, having previously vowed to achieve nationwide coverage by 2020.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]