FCC Announces Process to Expedite Section 106 Review for Critical Infrastructure Projects

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The FCC has announced an electronic process developed in coordination with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) for wireless licensees to apply for expedited Section 106 review or emergency authorization for critical infrastructure builds to keep Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the ACHP notified federal agencies that historic preservation reviews are tolled when a state or Tribal office has closed due to COVID-19. Since then, FCC staff has been in communication with Tribes to offer support and with industry to facilitate communications deployments during the pandemic. The ACHP’s regulations include provisions for a seven-day expedited Section 106 review for essential and immediate projects that respond to emergencies. The FCC’s rules provide for emergency authorization for infrastructure projects critical for responding to emergency situations. A licensee may request emergency authorization if a project addresses: (1) network congestion due to COVID-19 effects; (2) needs of unserved/underserved areas due to COVID-19 effects; or (3) support of public safety/critical infrastructure initiatives to meet communications needs during the COVID-19 crisis.

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