A proposed House Bill could make it easier for Sprint Corp. to pump the gas on building out its wireless network.
The SPEED Act (Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure) would amend a portion of the Communications Act of 1934 to lighten regulations around permitting for communications facilities.
More specifically, it would exempt certain types of telecom infrastructure from environmental review requirements by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The exemption would apply to communications facilities in the public right-of-way that are less than 50 feet tall, or small cells as defined by the FCC, according to the bill text.
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., introduced the bill on Jan. 18.
In a release, Vonya McCann, Sprint’s senior vice president of government affairs, said the company “enthusiastically supports this legislation.” The bill, she added, “will help accelerate wireless network investment by removing the obstacles that plague wireless carriers’ efforts to meet ever-growing consumer demand.”
Sprint (NYSE: S) has been working to deploy small cells to help carry large amounts of data through dense metropolitan areas. But difficulties with permitting have pushed back deployment of the antennas, and capital spending, in the past year.
Of late, the carrier has stuck deals with cable companies Altice USA and Cox Communications to get around regulatory restrictions.