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FCC's New 5G Rules Favor Fast Setup Over Federal Reviews (cnet.com) 53

In a 3-2, party-line vote Thursday, FCC commissioners passed a measure that exempts small cell radio deployments from federal environmental and historical preservation reviews originally meant for large cell phone towers. The vote didn't affect reviews from towns and cities, but the agency may consider exemptions for those reviews later this year. CNET reports: Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has been leading the agency's charge in promoting 5G. He said the exemptions are sorely needed because reviews have been costing wireless operators too much and have slowed deployments. In 2017, these federal reviews cost providers $36 million. He anticipates that as 5G deployments increase in the coming year they could cost providers as much as $241 million. Meanwhile, he said FCC records show that less than 1 percent of cases reviewed resulted in any changes to planned deployments.

"The disproportionate fees are the product of a broken and outdated system," Carr said. "This threatens to hold us back in the race to 5G or limit the business case to densely populated or affluent areas." He added that with Thursday's rule change, the FCC "can flip the business case for thousands of communities." Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, however, said that though the current reviews process does involve red tape, Thursday's change "misses the mark" and also runs afoul of key environmental and historic preservation values.

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FCC's New 5G Rules Favor Fast Setup Over Federal Reviews

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  • making these calls? Not that the outcome would be any different given who we put in charge, but still.
    • Duh! So what does the EPA have to do with Federal Communications Regulations?

      Actually I think the federal government needs to radically downsize and butt out of 20-30+% of what they have their fingers in. If I recall from my 8th grade civics class, the states retained all responsibility for everything not specifically granted to the federal government in the constitution. In my mind the federal government has badly over reached their powers.

      Just my 2 cents ;)
      • Actually I think the federal government needs to radically downsize

        We can start with the $716 billion we're spending on this shit. It adds up to $5682 for each household in the US. Every year. Year after year, and it goes up 10% every year even though the only time it gets used is for useless fuckery in third world sandboxes like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. And that's not counting our nuclear arsenal, which doesn't get included in the defense budget.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news... [bloomberg.com]

        • The truth is!

          Our current spending on the books is 4 trillion+
          We are in real trouble, I agree partly about the need to eviscerate defense, but if we were to close most overseas military bases. tell our allies if your attacked we will be there when we can. Mothball most of the airforce/navy just keep some planes/ships and the coast guard. Cut everything to the bone, if something happens, we will accept loses and take the mass casualties for the first year+ until we reengage. I don't like the policy, but we
          • The problem isn’t just spending but unnecessary tax cuts.
            • The government allowing individuals to keep more of what they earn (what is theirs?) is a problem?
              • The government allowing individuals to keep more of what they earn (what is theirs?) is a problem?

                Yes, as long as our economic system is little more than a tool for siphoning wealth from the middle class and below and giving it to the top 0.1%.

                Anyway, we're not talking about "what they earn". We're talking about people who own shit for a living. A fraction of the top percent. They don't "earn" a goddamn thing.

            • Federal government revenue per capita in inflation-adjusted dollars is up by 3x in the last 40 years.

              The problem is that spending is up 4x in the same measure.

              Spending is completely the issue, not the near record levels of revenue. Even a relatively minor slowdown in the annual spending increases would balance the budget in 20 years.

          • You should really look at the doending again then. Domestic spending is a fraction of military spending.

            THE ISSUE IS THE DEBT. That eats up 30% of our budget via interest alone. No payments to prinicpal.

            No the only solution is to raise taxes on the rich, cut all spending, and lose ,2-3 generations of econmonic growth to pay back what the baby boomers have spent.

            To start? We need to pass a balanced budget law. Keep it simple. This year's budget is equal to last year's tax revenue unless war has been dec

            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              Domestic spending is a fraction of military spending.

              Huh?

              Military spending - $609B (15.8%)
              Foreign aid - $50B (1.3%)
              Interest - $229B (6%)
              Domestic programs - $2.9T (76%)

              Where did you get your supposed numbers from?

      • In terms of along the country run better, that might be a good idea, but don't expect it to make any difference from a monetary perspective. The US government is basically a giant retirement program (including Medicaid) with a portion of military on the side (most of which is salaries and pension). Everything else the government does is a rounding error compared to those two things.
      • If you want to start reducing federal expenses, then start with the military budget, which accounts for 50%.

        As for regulation it is the to reduce the risk of corporations doing any shit they want, impeding on the rights of the citizens of the land. Would you want a NFL or NBA game without rules, well thatâ(TM)s what removing all regulations would be like? Also, it is better for a corporation to have to deal with one regulation at federal level, than dozens spread out amongst different states.

        When it co

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          If you want to start reducing federal expenses, then start with the military budget, which accounts for 50%.

          Military spending accounts for about 54% of the approximately 1/3 of Federal spending that is classified as "discretionary". So about 18% of total spending. The overwhelming majority of Federal spending is for Social Security and Medicare.

      • by Holi ( 250190 )
        Um, Did you not see the previous story?

        https://mobile.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org]
      • Actually I think the federal government needs to radically downsize and butt out of 20-30+% of what they have their fingers in. If I recall from my 8th grade civics class, the states retained all responsibility for everything not specifically granted to the federal government in the constitution. In my mind the federal government has badly over reached their powers.

        The problem is RF doesn't respect state boundaries a bit. Not a bit.

        I'm happy to state's right's stuff, but trying to imagine a country where each state sets the RF communications rules, frequencies, and modes would be completely chaotic. 50 different sets of rules.

        What should probably scare you even more is that it isn't only the Federal government, but all of this radio and electronic stuff is regulated by the world! Every few years, most all the countries of the world get together and hammer out rul

    • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Yeah, let's get Scott Pruitt on the phone and see if he objects to skipping his department's reviews! He'd have to hate the department he's in charge of to allow that..

  • Is there something fundamentally different about 5G that they can't deploy on all the existing towers?

    If you're building new towers I certainly understand environmental impact and historical preservation reviews.

    What is it though about putting more antennae on existing towers that requires an expensive review? Or any review at all?

    (And costing operators too much? Hah. We all know they're just going to pass their costs on to us.)

    • They'll probably be deploying more smaller towers closer together to mitigate the shorter range due to the higher frequency.

    • Is there something fundamentally different about 5G that they can't deploy on all the existing towers?

      Yes, there is [comsoc.org]. The higher frequency (15GHz!!) affords higher bandwidth, but requires many more towers because of the shorter range:

      As far as frequency, the 5G test network used a 15 GHz frequency band, which is higher and shorter range than current 3G/4G cellular frequencies that top out at around 2.6 GHz, i.e. 2600 MHz LTE Band 7. The choice of short-range would make deployments of this technology suitable for densely populated urban areas, where many base stations could be deployed to offer super-fast speeds over a small area.

      I'd also wager, that tracking your device's location will also become more precise...

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @11:39PM (#56310545)

    $36 million is what? 1/100th of Verizon and/or AT&T’s yearly revenues? Poor things...

    • Should be 1/100th of 1%.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        Considering they're short range and thousands of them would be needed to adequately cover medium through large cities, that a real cost.

    • Sure, but as the reviews are pointless 99% f the time, that's basically just throwing wealth away in compliance costs.

      Sure, $241 million next year is a little less than $1/person in the country, but if you don't mind wasting that, feel free to send me $241 million and I'll make much better use of it than blowing it on pointless paperwork.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday March 23, 2018 @04:01AM (#56311269)

    Who are we "racing" to get 5G deployed and why?

    Is there some huge issue with people hitting the wall speed-wise on existing LTE networks? Last I heard no one was getting anywhere close to the maximum speeds of the infrastructure we've got -- mostly due to a lack of back-haul capacity supplying it.

    Considering how the government coddles the incumbent telcos and doesn't hold them to any standards when it comes to fully supporting the markets they have been given exclusive access to, it's obvious that they don't consider high speed internet access an important thing, so that's not why.

    • Is there some huge issue with people hitting the wall speed-wise on existing LTE networks?

      By pushing more data faster to the device the device is usually faster at shutting up and freeing the airwaves for someone else. Just because you're loading slashdot doesn't mean there isn't a benefit from a faster service.

      Last I heard no one was getting anywhere close to the maximum speeds of the infrastructure we've got -- mostly due to a lack of back-haul capacity supplying it.

      You heard wrong. Well maybe depending where you are. There are plenty of places especially in densely built up areas where backhaul capacity is not at all an issue where cell congestion is a very real limiting factor. Incidentally a faster but shorter range service is exactly a way to com

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        There are plenty of places especially in densely built up areas where backhaul capacity is not at all an issue where cell congestion is a very real limiting factor

        Pretty much any "event" location. A concert, a stadium, a convention, a hotel, anyplace where lots of people gather. The Cell network in the area is usually pretty slow, however, it's almost always an order of magnitude faster than any supplied Wi-Fi network.

  • Itâ(TM)s likely less than 1% changed because carriers are submitting plans that would likely pass review to begin with. Without such a review, they may not be so careful when planning new deployments.

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