In an earlier blog post, we looked at distributed antenna system (DAS) networks, a technology that wireless service providers are deploying to address the increasing demand for additional network capacity. Another technology that is being deployed is the small cell facility. This is the first post in a two-post series on small cell facilities and the Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order (the “FCC Order”) that was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) in September. This post describes small cell facilities, provides the reasons the FCC adopted the FCC Order and discusses the review standard adopted by the FCC. The next post will review the fee standards and “shot clocks” that were adopted by the FCC and some typical ordinance requirements.
Small cell facilities typically consist of a single antenna, attached either to an existing structure (e.g., a light pole, utility pole, traffic signal pole, etc.) or to a new structure, together with a small equipment cabinet. Small cell facilities provide a much smaller coverage footprint than a traditional wireless antenna facility and are intended to provide additional network capacity in an area where wireless subscribers are more concentrated (e.g., a shopping center, an urban area, etc.). Small cell facilities are often deployed within public rights-of way which has led to some tension between wireless service providers and municipalities. Continue Reading Small Cell Facilities in the Public Rights-of-Way: The FCC Weighs In (Part I)