Senators Reintroduce Bill to Set Standards Over Local Approval of 5G

Senators John Thune, R-S.D., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, reintroduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, which would set requirements for cities during the approval process of installing infrastructure for 5G.

The bill, which did not make its way out of committee during the last session of Congress, would require cities to set standards that are “reasonable” and “objective” and would push cities to respond to applications within at least 90 days for larger cities and 120 days for municipalities under 50,000 residents.

“The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act will provide the necessary updates to the Communications Act to put the United States in a position to win the race to 5G, something that could potentially accelerate economic growth and provide new opportunities for businesses and communities throughout the country,” said Thune in a statement.

When Thune and Schatz initially introduced the bill in June 2018, the National League of Cities expressed their displeasure with the measure. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced similar rules in September 2018, the National League of Cities took the rule to court, with the case still ongoing.

“While state and local governments share Congress’s goal on ensuring efficient, safe, and appropriate deployment of new broadband technology, the bill as currently written does not represent the best way to achieve that shared goal,” the league stated in an July 2018 open letter.

The bill will likely go to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, currently chaired by Thune, with Schatz as ranking member for the Democrats.

“This bill will advance the discussion on how to best update our national 5G infrastructure. I look forward to a robust debate as we move through the legislative process,” said Schatz.

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