In an op-ed in The Hill, Baker wrote that “a commonsense national approach to further streamline and modernize the wireless siting process is long overdue” and has bipartisan support. She noted that small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems are becoming integral to network topologies and deployments, but that they are still treated like 250-foot cell towers by many municipalities.
The CTIA chief, herself a former FCC commissioner, wants the FCC to “limit the ability of state and local authorities to delay the collocation and replacement of wireless infrastructure that have minimal impact on communities.”
Wireless carriers, tower companies and infrastructure providers have long complained of delays in the permitting and zoning process, including for equipment that is collocated with an already-approved cell site or with replacing equipment on a site that has already been zoned and approved.
Baker also wrote that the FCC should “curtail unnecessary delays at the local level by imposing a 45-day limit on collocation approvals. After all, as Congress recognized, these wireless facilities already have received the necessary zoning approval, so why impose further impediments?”
In terms of DAS and small cells, she wrote that their small size and flexibility “warrant streamlining the environmental and historic review processes–including the adoption of certain exclusions–for deployment of these facilities.”
In order to expand on the anywhere, anytime connectivity, the CTIA claims the industry needs access to more licensed spectrum, towers and antennas.