U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member and former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and current chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the ranking member of the subcommittee, today reintroduced the Streamlining the Rapid Evolution And Modernization of Leading-edge Infrastructure Necessary to Enhance Small Cell Deployment Act or STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act. The legislation updates the Communications Act to better reflect developing technology and facilitate the rapid deployment of 5G networks to meet consumer demand by setting reasonable standards for public review of infrastructure siting while recognizing the unique challenges for small municipalities.
“Making 5G technology a reality has been a priority for me since I began serving on the Commerce Committee,” said Thune. “The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act will provide the necessary updates to the Communications Act to put the United States in a position to win the race to 5G, something that could potentially accelerate economic growth and provide new opportunities for businesses and communities throughout the country.”
“Developing and deploying the next generation of wireless technology will provide more Americans with access to the internet while giving us the chance to continue our global leadership and create millions of new jobs,” said Schatz. “This bill will advance the discussion on how to best update our national 5G infrastructure. I look forward to a robust debate as we move through the legislative process.”
Key provisions of the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act
Reasonable process and timeframe guidelines specific to small cell applications for state and local consideration:
- Permits must be approved or denied on publicly available criteria that are reasonable, objective, and non-discriminatory.
- Small cell applications may be denied or regulated for objective and reasonable structural engineering standards, safety requirements or aesthetic or concealment requirements.
- Applications must be acted on no later than 60 days for requests to collocate equipment and 90 days for other requests.
- Flexibility and additional time is allowed for small municipalities (fewer than 50,000 residents).
- Empowers the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant flexibility by issuing a one-time 30-day waiver of the timeframes required for action upon a request by a state or local government.
Requirements for reasonable state and local fees for processing applications:
- Fees must be publicly disclosed, competitively neutral, technology neutral, nondiscriminatory and based on actual and direct costs (including, for example, costs for maintenance and inspections).