FCC Streamlines Review Process for Wireless Infrastructure Siting


The FCC has announced its adoption of new rules streamlining the wireless infrastructure siting review process to facilitate the deployment of next-generation wireless facilities. In what became a contentious proceeding between the FCC, state and local governments, and Indian Tribes, the FCC has excluded small wireless facilities deployed on non-Tribal lands from the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process, clarifying that such facilities do not constitute federal “undertakings” or “major federal actions.” Small wireless facilities remain subject to state and local government approval requirements. The FCC also clarified the process for Tribal participation in Section 106 historic preservation reviews for large wireless facilities for which NHPA/NEPA reviews are required. In addition, the FCC will no longer require an applicant to file an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed facility located in a floodplain, subject to certain conditions, and established timeframes for the FCC to act on EAs.


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