Streamlining Permitting Processes for Small Cells in the Right of Way
8 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017 Last revised: 16 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 15, 2017
Increasing demand for wireless capacity and throughput is necessitating more widespread and variegated deployment of wireless infrastructure. Along with traditional cell towers, small cells, Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), outdoor Wi-Fi, and Internet of Things nodes, increase capacity, but also require close and continuous proximity. As wireless communications is increasingly becoming treated as a necessary public utility, the industry is challenging municipalities and other government entities to streamline their processes for siting and modification of these facilities in the Right of Way. While permitting entities request well-integrated, context-appropriate, and secure facilities, wireless representatives respond that onerous requirements create a significant barrier in deployment.
This paper describes existing issues within this conflict between local governments and the wireless industry based on comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission proceeding titled “Streamlining Deployment of Small Cell Infrastructure by Improving Wireless Siting Policies” (docket 16-421). The goal of this paper is to present a fair and unbiased assessment of the issue from both sides, impart the complexity and emotional nuances of the situations in which contention or misunderstandings can arise, and describe preliminary administrative improvements.
Eventually, this paper will be expanded to create materials to facilitate resolution of these issues and expedite permitting processes in a practical and concrete manner, including the analysis of various legal, administrative, architectural, and economic options. These recommendations and best practices will improve communication and negotiation procedures between municipalities and the wireless industry and result in cost-savings and diminished delays.
Keywords: permitting, siting, small cells, DAS, municipalities, Right of Way, ROW, wireless, telecommunications
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