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FCC-18-133 Impact 

Is your jurisdiction ready?

Small Cell Permit Volume Increasing and New FCC-18-133 Ruling

The FCC passed policy (FCC-18-133 A1) with respect to locality small cell 5G permitting. This is a federal policy ruling for non-discrimatory fairness and urgency in the deployment of 5G, with the specific focus on locality 5G infrastructure permitting.


Avolve Software is providing a non-legal (we aren't lawyers) overview of our read of the key aspects in FCC-18-133(A1):


  • localities must have the same (non-discrimatory) fee's and process for all wireless carriers and their third party contractors.

  • the FCC presumes "(a) $500 for non-recurring fees, including a single up-front application that includes up to five Small Wireless Facilities, with an additional $100 for each Small Wireless Facility beyond five, or $1,000 for non-recurring fees for a new pole (i.e., not a collocation) intended to support one or more Small Wireless Facilities; and (b) $270 per Small Wireless Facility per year for all recurring fees, including any possible ROW (Right-of-Way) access fee or fee for attachment to municipally-owned structures in the ROW" (FCC 18-133A1 section 79), with the intent is to establish guidance (a legal yardstick) for "fair and reasonable" compensation to the locality. The locality must be able to defend fees as reasonable and actual cost coverage (as applied fairly and equally); the burden of any unreasonableness cost position is with the 5G providers.

  • A shot clock defines a presumptive "reasonable period of time" beyond which state or local inaction on wireless infrastructure siting applications would constitute a “failure to act". The FCC is setting a 5G shot clock of "60 days for review of an application for collocation of Small Wireless Facilities using a preexisting structure and 90 days for review of an application for attachment of Small Wireless Facilities using a new structure" (FCC-18-133A1 section 105), with the intent to "significantly reduce the need for litigation over missed shot clocks" (FCC-18-133A1 Section 103). 

  • "For Small Wireless Facilities applications, the siting authority has 10 days from the submission of the application to determine whether the application is incomplete. The shot clock then resets once the applicant submits the supplemental information requested by the siting authority." (FCC-18-133A1 Section 143)

This FCC order is 116 pages of federal policy, and the above is a non-legal position of our understanding of the ruling. Any decisions or conclusions regarding the FCC order impact on your jurisidiction's 5G policy and fee's should be in counseltation with your legal advisors. A very good, but longer summary can be found here by MRSC.


Most localities believe they have a good process in place for handling 5G permits.  That may be the case for the volume of tower and small cell 4G permits that have been submitted over the last few years in modest volumnes.  But the volume of 5G permits is about to explode (more pole antenna/units are required for a 5G network).

Avolve Software is providing a small cell SaaS solution that can immediately help jurisdictions improve submission and review efficiency, as well as track shot clock accountability and resets.

Read the FCC order

FCC 5G small cell permit ruling - be ready

Avolve's 5G permit submission and review solution can help!  (see how)

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