Between having FCC Commissioner Carr joining us at RTIME, all of the ensuring discussions and the press and announcements over the past week on easing of wireless permitting, it was no surprise to see the NYT run an article at the end of the week on 5G cell service coming but who will make the decisions on who and where the service will come. The premise of the article is that while folks in the designated areas will have access to services, there is a great deal of pressure to allow local governments to control the placement and look of the 5G equipment with an eye towards concern on neighborhood clutter and equipment eyesores as well as ways that localities are looking at generating revenues. (On that last point, I have certainly seen some of that tense first hand from the BDAC working group on fees – where the carriers and localities have had some robust discussions!)
But wireless companies are forecasting that the industry will generate $250 billion annually from 5G services by 2025 and are trying to take advantage of any possible streamlining to move as quickly as possible on their deployment.
But a rural solution? Not in the foresable future. I truly loved the CTIA testimony that noted that directly.
That was augmented by the example used in the NYT story that documented an unofficial plan submitted for Montgomery County, Maryland last fall which designated where the company might look to place small cells. Of the 215 small cell sites in the submitted plan, only 11 were in areas with fewer than 1,000 people per square mile. Given that NTCA members have a density of about 7 people per square mile, it will take a long, long time until that barrier as a rural solution will be breached!