This week the Brooklyn 5G Summit took place and Tech Crunch had an interesting talk with some of the attendees. According to Tech Crunch one attendee said, “It takes eighteen months to review a permit, and one hour to install (small 5G cell).”
While that attendee may have been joking, there is a ton of truth to the statement. In South Korea and China an application for a new 5G placement can typically be approved in a few weeks. In the United States, it can take months to get approval to upgrade existing towers even after the 5G standard was approved.
Recently the FCC and Congress have been pushing to speed up the roll out of new internet options; however, they are facing pushback both from current internet providers who seek to block access to existing poles and environmental and historical preservation activists. Both have threated legal action to block the FCCs attempt to speed up the 5G roll out.
The proposed rules would set a clock on how long local governments can wait before the proposal is automatically approved. The hope is that putting limits on how long a city can take to approve or decline a request would speed up the process. Supporters say that some cities take months to even look at requests for new towers. Detractors say speeding up the process could result in damage to historical locations.
So why is the United States so far behind in the race for 5G? The government seems to be a big part of that holdup.
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