Analysis

New FCC Looks Poised To Overrule Local Barriers To 5G

Law360, Washington (February 9, 2017, 10:30 PM EST) -- The now GOP-led Federal Communications Commission appears ready to preempt localities if it determines their regulatory processes and fees inhibit next-generation wireless, experts say, despite traditional Republican reluctance to undercut state and local authority.

Next-generation 5G wireless, based on very high-frequency waves that can carry significant amounts of data, would rely heavily on small cells packed closely together because the millimeter wave spectrum cannot carry data very far. That means that tower siting will be a key component of deploying 5G.

The FCC's new chairman, Ajit Pai, and Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly have signaled a willingness to use statutory authority to...

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