August 12, 2020
A federal appeals court has upheld a 2018 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cap fees for wireless carriers to deploy small cells which are essential for the adoption of 5G networks.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday largely upheld the three orders the FCC adopted in 2018 to speed 5G deployments, despite objections from dozens of U.S. cities.
The decision is a win for wireless carriers like Verizon Communications, AT&T, and T-Mobile US. AT&T said in 2018 that excessive fees sought by Portland, Oregon, were preventing it from deploying 5G small cells in the city.
FCC commissioners have said the United States over a decade will need to install as many 800,000 small cells for 5G networks.
The 2018 FCC orders limited local governments’ ability to regulate telecom providers and prevented owners and operators of utility poles from discriminatorily denying or delaying 5G and broadband service providers access to poles.
The appeals court upheld the orders, except in reference to a provision dealing with local governments’ authority on aesthetic regulations.