Small cell, DAS deployments could speed up under new FCC rules

The FCC said it will consider loosening restrictions on the construction and rollout of small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems, an effort by the commission to help carriers flesh out their wireless capacity and coverage. The issue is key for wireless carriers turning to small cell and DAS technologies to fill in the gaps in their networks that macrocells are unable to reach.

Specifically, the FCC said it will open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that in part will seek comment "on measures needed to reduce obstacles to obtaining access to rights-of-way and locations for wireless facilities." The agency pointed toward streamlining the environmental and historic preservation review processes for newer technologies like small cells and distributed antenna systems.

PCIA President & CEO Jonathan Adelstein cheered the FCC's actions. "They (the FCC) hit the nail on the head by acknowledging that common-sense reforms are needed to modernize historic and environmental review processes for the deployment of distributed antenna systems and small cells," he said. "They recognize we can't treat every DAS node like a 500 foot cell tower." Filing (PDF)