August 11, 2016 — The FCC, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) have executed the First Amendment to Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas to address the review of deployments of small wireless antennas and associated equipment under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
“The Commission has been forging ahead aggressively to ensure that the United States is the world’s 5G leader, placing particular emphasis on expanding access to spectrum, enabling backhaul connections, and promoting infrastructure deployment,” said Jon Wilkins, chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
The Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas was amended to account for the limited potential of small wireless antennas and associated equipment, including DAS and small cell facilities, to affect historic properties.
“The FCC is taking a big step forward by streamlining the review of small cell and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) deployments under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act,” said Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association. “This agreement shows how government entities and industry can work together to deploy wireless infrastructure while also protecting historic resources.”
The amendment establishes new exclusions from the Section 106 review process for physically small deployments like DAS and small cells, fulfilling a directive in the October 2014 Infrastructure Report and Order to further streamline review of these installations, according to the FCC.
“These new exclusions will reduce the cost, time, and burden associated with deploying small facilities in many settings, and provide opportunities to increase densification at low cost and with very little impact on historic properties. Facilitating these deployments thus directly advances efforts to roll out 5G service in communities across the country,” the FCC said.