Bipartisan Bill Introduced in Senate to Streamline Infrastructure Deployment

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Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) have introduced legislation referred to as the SPEED Act to streamline the permitting of telecommunications equipment installed in locations that have already been subjected to historical or environmental reviews. Senator Wicker explained that this legislation would help fast-track the deployment of next-generation broadband technologies by utilizing existing public right-of-ways (ROW) and exempting communications providers from duplicative reviews. The SPEED Act would exempt facilities from environmental and historical reviews by the FCC and other federal agencies in a public ROW if previously installed telecommunications facilities have already undergone environmental and historic reviews. The SPEED Act would also exempt small cells from environmental and historical reviews only if they (1) are located in a public ROW and will not be higher than an existing structure in the public ROW; and (2) serve as a replacement for an existing small cell and are the same or substantially similar to the small cell being replaced. The legislation also directs the FCC’s Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group to submit a report to Congress on its preliminary findings and recommendations for accelerating the deployment of high-speed Internet access to federal lands across the United States.

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