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Posted on: June 12, 2020

FCC Approves Order to Streamline Deployment of 5G Equipment onto Macro Towers

Earlier this week the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC), in a 3-2 vote, adopted a Declaratory Ruling clarifying the FCC’s 2014 rules regarding the so-called “streamlined review” of deployment of 5G wireless equipment onto existing macro towers and base stations. Under the Spectrum Act of 2012, local governments were required to streamline review of certain requests to modify wireless transmission equipment on existing structures – with a 60-day shot clock for local review.

The Declaratory Ruling adopted by the FCC this week attempts to clarify the current rules with regard to when the 60-day shot clock for local review begins. The ruling also clarifies how certain aspects of proposed modifications – height increases, equipment cabinet additions, and impact on concealment elements and aesthetic conditions – affect eligibility for streamlined review.  In addition, the action clarifies that, under the FCC’s rules on environmental and historic preservation review, FCC applicants do not need to submit environmental assessments based only on potential impacts to historic properties when parties have entered into a memorandum of agreement to mitigate effects on those properties.

The Declaratory Ruling became effective on June 10, 2020.

At this same meeting, the FCC also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) that seeks comment on proposed rule changes regarding excavation or deployment outside the boundaries of an existing tower site and the effects of such activities on eligibility for streamlined review. The League is working with our partners at the National League of Cities to review the NPR, and anticipate submitting comments in opposition to the rule proposal. 

Please review this information with your municipal and land use attorney for more information on how the FCC’s actions could impact your community. If you submit comments to the FCC please send us a copy.

Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, fmarshall@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x137.


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