FCC Streamlines Review Process for Replacement Utility Poles

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The FCC today adopted rules to streamline the review process for replacement utility poles to remove barriers to wireless infrastructure deployment. The FCC determined that replacement utility poles that have no potential effect on historic properties do not need to complete historic preservation review. The Order eliminates historic preservation review when a pole is replaced with a substantially identical pole provided that the original pole is not a historic property, that it does not cause new ground disturbance, and that it is consistent with various other size, location, and appearance restrictions. The FCC also consolidated into a single rule the FCC’s historic preservation review rules and procedures which currently are in a variety of rules and orders. As new infrastructure deployment will be critical to support small cell technologies of next generation services, the FCC hopes its action will provide significant efficiencies in the deployment of replacement poles without the delay of unnecessary procedures while still protecting historic properties.

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