Small Cell Permit Volume

Is your jurisdiction ready?

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

5G is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications that targets high data rate, energy saving, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.  The FCC recently passed new mandates to speed up small cell (5G) permitting.  FCC-18-133 recommends non-discriminatory yardsticks for the expected time (“shot clock”) to process a small cell permit on an existing structure or new structure, along with what it believes are reasonable permit costs for doing those reviews.

Most localities believe they have a good process in place for handling wireless 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.  But the volume of wireless permits for deploying 5G is about to explode. (see why)

A 2018 survey by Accenture Strategy estimates that the wireless providers will invest approximately $275B in United States Infrastructure over the next few years.  A report from Accenture also estimates during the next three or four years, over 300,000 small cells will need to be deployed, which is “roughly double the number of macro cells built over the last 30 years!"

  • Verizon anticipates the upgrade to 5G will require 10 to 100 times more antenna locations than currently exist.

  • AT&T estimates that providers will deploy hundreds of thousands of wireless facilities in the next few years alone—equal to or more than the number providers have deployed in total over the last few decades.

  • Sprint has announced plans to build at least 40,000 new small sites over the next few years.

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