The FCC has made deploying 5G easier by limiting the influence cities have over whether the wireless infrastructure is too unsightly or obtrusive.\n\n5G resources\n\nWhat is 5G? Fast wireless technology for enterprises and phones\nHow 5G frequency affects range and speed\nPrivate 5G can solve some problems that Wi-Fi can\u2019t\nPrivate 5G keeps Whirlpool driverless vehicles rolling\n5G can make for cost-effective private backhaul\nCBRS can bring private 5G to enterprises\n\n\nRecent rule changes enable the major mobile network operators to modify existing base stations and build new ones, in anticipation of a massive national rollout of 5G, which is expected to bring a number of new capabilities beyond simply increasing network speeds.\nThese include better handling of very dense traffic patterns and features designed to support a surge in traffic from connected devices that aren\u2019t smartphones or computers, including smart-city tech like connected traffic lights and other types of IoT. But 5G will also require a lot of new construction as well as extensive modifications of existing sites.\nThe idea is to streamline the approval process for deploying new networking gear or modifying the existing infrastructure. The FCC rules provide for a 60-day \u201cshot clock\u201d on applications, meaning that municipalities must issue a firm approval or denial within that time frame, as well as pushing rules on concealment and aesthetic conditions closer to what the carriers would want. The shot clock was already part of FCC rules, but proved difficult to enforce.\n\nThe FCC ruling was eagerly anticipated by wireless providers, according to Brian Partridge, a research vice president at 451 Research.\n\u201cIf you talk to any operator and the people responsible for network deployment they\u2019ll say one of the biggest headwinds they face is the issue the FCC\u2019s addressing here \u2013 local permitting and licensing,\u201d he said.\nMany municipalities, however, are unhappy with the streamlined version of the rules, saying that it erodes their legal authority over wireless infrastructure build-outs. Cities have disagreed with the wireless companies over the placement and size of equipment, particularly when it is obtrusively placed, unsightly or too close to the public.\nLawmakers from both political parties had urged the FCC to delay the vote on the updated rules, and two of the FCC\u2019s own commissioners \u2013 Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel \u2013 spoke out on behalf of those city governments.\nSeveral cities \u2013 including Boston, Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. \u2013 detailed their complaints at length in a filing with the FCC, arguing that the rules changes are counterproductive, inconsistent with previous FCC rulemaking and offer partial carte blanche to the wireless companies to deploy equipment however it suits them.\nAccording to Partridge, the timing of the changes was a factor in making them particularly unwelcome to municipalities.\n\u201cIf you dig into some of the pushback, part of it is about the pandemic. The timing of this isn\u2019t great,\u201d he said. \u201cCities and municipalities are just getting themselves back to work, oftentimes not in their buildings. So the FCC is saying that this infrastructure is just that important.\u201d\nPatrick Filkins, a senior research analyst at IDC, said that the rulemaking took place in the context of a prolonged legal battle between cities and the major wireless carriers.\n\u201cReally, what you have here is the FCC has seen that the legal wrangling is still going on and they\u2019re trying to be more focused and defined about how they help the carriers out and make it smoother to deploy this infrastructure,\u201d he said.