Counties, Cities Voice Concern Over FCC’s Small Cell Ruling

September 26, 2018 - (2 min read)

Washington – The National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities today released the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote on the Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order on state and local governance of small cell wireless infrastructure deployment.

“Cities and counties are strongly committed to the timely and successful deployment of 5G facilities and services throughout the nation, just as we led and supported public and private partnerships that resulted in the successful introduction and expansion of 4G infrastructure and services.

“Today’s vote, however, overlooks significant concerns from the nation’s cities and counties. Over 100 local governments from 22 states filed comments in opposition to the proposed ruling during the FCC’s comment period.

“The FCC’s impractical actions will significantly impede local governments’ ability to serve as trustees of public property, safety and well-being. The decision will transfer significant local public resources to private companies, without securing any guarantee of public benefit in return.

“Counties and cities are the stewards of substantial amounts of public rights-of-way, which many telecommunications providers use to construct their own communications networks. By narrowing the window and resources for evaluating small cell applications, the FCC is effectively hindering our ability to fulfill public health and safety responsibilities during the construction and modification of broadcasting facilities.  

“Local governments share the FCC’s goal of ensuring affordable broadband access for every American, regardless of their income level or address. However, today’s vote applies a one-size-fits-all approach to broadband deployment that simply will not work in the vast majority of cities and counties across the country.

“With this ruling, the FCC is overlooking its overall goals to ‘build on the commonsense reforms adopted in state legislatures and town councils across the country.’ 

“Local governments share the FCC’s urgency; however, this ruling promises to force local governments to rubber-stamp small cell applications or face crippling legal recourse from providers racing to corner the 5G communications market. 

“We urge the FCC to delay the rule, and we plan to support local effort to mitigate its impacts.”


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.