5G Preemption Is Coming

Route Fifty: The Federal Communications Commission will vote on an order at its March 22 meeting eliminating the need for federally mandated historic preservation and environmental reviews when deploying small cells, meaning states and localities without such rules will be out of luck.

By removing the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act from the equation, the FCC would pave the way for streamlined installation of 5G networks—once the technology is realized.

But proponents of local self-reliance see it as phase one in transferring the management of public rights of way and the leasing of access from counties and cities over to the wireless industry. Phase two would be the FCC’s adoption of the industry-leaning Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s recommendations that local governments be allowed only 30 days to make permitting decisions and leases over and above the cost of the permitting process be limited.

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