Establishing a Regulatory Framework for Distributed Antenna Systems
Telecommunications Policy Research Conference 2008
76 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2008 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015
Date Written: July 15, 2008
The regulatory treatment of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) has received scant academic attention despite DAS' growing commercial viability and widespread use. This paper analyzes regulatory classifications for wireless deployments involving DAS. It emphasizes that DAS deployments are not monolithic and, particularly, that the existing regulatory framework fails to satisfactorily account for the diversity in practical implementations of DAS networks. This paper explores three instances of problematic application of conventional regulations upon unique DAS designs. DAS antennas differ from traditional cell sites because of design intricacies such as limited on site processing and a smaller form factor. Accordingly, the FCC should revisit its decision to impose a back up power rule on DAS antenna nodes at the federal level. Second, this paper questions the wisdom of state regulations that uniformly impose common carrier obligations upon DAS providers. Third, this paper also propounds that the current state of DAS-level municipal regulations is fractured and suggests a unified regulatory approach extended to all municipalities. The case studies investigated in this paper suggest modifications to the existing regulatory framework to achieve essential policy goals without hindering the growth of the incipient DAS technology.
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