FCC Strikes ‘Historic’ Agreement on Wireless Co-Location

Brings wireless co-locations in line with new construction

The FCC has struck an agreement with historic preservation groups to help build out wireless infrastructure while protecting historic properties. 

That comes in the form of an update to the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation NPA) that the FCC entered into with the Commission, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) in 2011. 

The agreement was announced by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who has headed up the FCC’s efforts to streamling wireless broadband buildouts as a way to speed the deployment of 5G. 

The agreement further streamlines infrastructure project reviews. 

The change means that excavation for co-location (adding wireless equipment to an existing site) that is related to but occurs outside a current tower site can qualify for streamlined review, which had not been the case previously. Carriers were allowed to excavate outside th existing site if they were taking down and replacing the tower, so the change give co-locations the same leeway. 

““This is a vitally important agreement to ensure our infrastructure policies can meet the challenges and opportunities of 5G,” said Carr. 

NATE, the communications infrastructure contractors association, praised the agreement.  

“On behalf of NATE’s 1,000 member companies nationwide, we applaud Commissioner Carr and his colleagues at the FCC for proactively collaborating with officials from the ACHP and NCSHPO to come to terms on this common-sense agreement,” said NATE President Todd Schlekeway. “The agreement is a win-win for NATE member companies, the wireless infrastructure industry and the historic preservation community. In particular, the Association is pleased that the agreement accounts for the realities of next-generation site activities and encourages facilitating collocation on existing structures.”