WASHINGTON, October 27, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today took action to reduce regulatory barriers to 5G deployment by further streamlining the state and local government review process for modifications to existing wireless infrastructure that involve excavation and deployment beyond existing site boundaries.

In the Report and Order adopted today, the Commission revised its rules implementing section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012, which provides that state and local governments may not deny certain requests to modify existing wireless structures that do not substantially change the physical dimensions of the structures. The revised rules provide that excavating or deploying transmission equipment in an area no more than 30 feet beyond existing site boundaries would not disqualify the modification from section 6409(a) treatment. This change is consistent with the current Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas, which provides that excavation or deployment within the same limited area beyond a site boundary generally does not warrant federal historic preservation review of a collocation. The Report and Order also defines site boundaries in a manner that appropriately reflects prior state or local government review.

The action taken by the Commission today will promote the accelerated deployment of 5G and other advanced wireless services by facilitating the collocation of antennas and associated equipment on existing infrastructure while preserving the ability of state and local governments to manage and protect local land-use interests.

Action by the Commission October 27, 2020 by Report and Order (FCC 20-153). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr. Commissioners Rosenworcel and Starks dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks issuing separate statements.

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