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New FCC Rules May Lower 5G Network Costs for Verizon and AT&T

March 23, 2018 / Sue Marek

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is changing the rules to make it easier and less costly for wireless operators to deploy small cell sites in cities. The new ruling comes just as operators in the U.S. are ramping up to launch 5G networks later this year. Specifically, the FCC ruled that small cell site deployments are exempt from the historical and environmental assessment reviews that are currently required before a wireless operator deploys a new tower site. This decision will not impact the reviews that towns and cities currently make about cell site deployments, but the agency has said it might revisit this in the future. According to a recent Accenture report, the change to the FCC rules could lower deployment costs by $1.6 billion over nine years. The study found that National Historical Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NHPA/NEPA) reviews for small cells cost the wireless industry $36 million in 2017, and those reviews were projected to cost oper...