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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just made it a little bit easier for carriers to move ahead with their 5G deployments.

The commission on Monday said it has signed an agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) to eliminate historic preservation review for small facility deployments that don’t negatively impact historic sites or locations.

The agency said the agreement marked an expansion of exclusions from the federal review process for distributed antennae systems (DAS) and small cell deployments.

The FCC said the new exclusions will help operators reduce the cost and time that comes with those deployments. Small cell, DAS and other small-scale technologies will be “critical components” of the next-generation networks that will support 5G services in the coming years, the FCC said.

“The agreement reflects the Commission’s vigilant commitment to enabling swift but responsible deployment of wireless infrastructure,” the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Jon Wilkins said. “The Bureau is open for business on infrastructure siting, and we welcome input on how to further improve the siting process.”

Wireless industry group CTIA on Monday praised the move in a statement, but said more work has yet to be done.

"Americans will benefit tremendously from innovations like 5G and the Internet of Things, which require more small cell facilities – often the size of a pizza box – to build a denser network," CTIA's assistant vice president of regulatory affairs Scott Bergmann said. "Today’s action by the FCC recognizes the minimal impact of these facilities, but there is more work to be done. We must streamline infrastructure policies at all levels of government, so that wireless providers can rapidly deliver the next generation of products and services to consumers.”

The commission said easing infrastructure deployments is just one of a three-pronged strategy it is taking to facilitate the 5G buildout. The other steps include increasing ensuring backhaul connectivity and increasing spectrum availability.

Last month, the commission took action on the latter item when it unanimously voted to open nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for 5G. The ruling opened 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz as well as 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum from 64-71 GHz.

At the time, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the move “one of, if not the most important decision this agency will make this year.”

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