News | January 7, 2021

FCC Modernizes Siting Rule For Small Hub And Relay Wireless Antennas To Support New Wireless Deployments

Updated Rule Will Ensure that Local Barriers Do Not Overburden and Delay Deployment of Small Antennas Used to Distribute Fixed Wireless Internet Access Services to Multiple Customers

The Federal Communications Commission today updated its over-the-air reception device rule to ensure that certain antennas that are used for the distribution of broadband-only fixed wireless services to multiple customer locations can be sited in ways that support the deployment of next generation networks, including 5G. The latest rule will ensure that these hub and relay wireless antennas fall under the same rule as other over-the-air reception devices.

“Whether you live in an apartment building, assisted living facility, or mobile home community, these devices might well be part of the solution to ensure you and your neighbors are connected to next generation fixed wireless networks by relaying wireless services throughout your community. Likewise, workplaces and event venues may benefit from such tools,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “As such, we have to ensure that local regulations don’t place unreasonable burdens on such devices.”

The Report and Order released today updates the Commission’s rule governing over-the-air reception devices to reflect recent trends in wireless networking and to accelerate the deployment of competitive fixed wireless services to consumers. The Commission has long prohibited certain state and local restrictions that unreasonably impair the ability of users to deploy small over-the-air reception devices on their own property, but the Commission’s rule did not cover such devices if they were used primarily as hubs for the distribution of service to multiple customer locations. As developments in fixed wireless technology and network design have resulted in denser deployment of smaller antennas, fixed wireless providers have less flexibility in where they can locate hub and relay sites.

Today’s action ensures that the Commission’s reasonable and consistent national rule protects hub and relay antennas that distribute broadband-only fixed wireless services to multiple consumer locations, regardless of whether they are primarily used for this purpose, provided the antennas satisfy the other conditions of the rule, including size limitations. The updated rule will enable fixed wireless service providers to bring faster Internet speeds and advanced applications to communities across the county.

Source: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)