2013 Year in Review and Coming in 2014

2013 Year In Review

  • Rise of the 4G LTE network – carriers spent the year upgrading and modifying their networks. The focus is now shifting to adding more capacity to LTE networks via wider spectrum channels.
  • North Carolina streamlined local regulation for cell tower siting by way of House Bill 664 – Cell Tower Deployment Act (passed as S.L. 2013-185)
  • Georgia legislature proposed but did not pass a bill similar to the North Carolina HB 664
  • Teton County, WY enacted a brief moratorium on all new cell towers then adopted clearer new regulations as promised on schedule
  • FCC staff provided guidance on Section 6409 (47 USC §1445) regarding collocations
  • Smart phone sales overtook feature phones globally
  • Smartphones began streaming pay-tv
  • More homes continue to replace wired telephones with wireless devices
  • Advances in technology continue towards 5G, but that level of service is still several years off.   When it does get here:  Everything will change
  • The Federal government delays the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency bands spectrum auction until February 2014
  • American Tower strikes a deal for $3.3 billion to buy Global Tower Company
  • The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Acceleration of Broadband Deployment by Improving Wireless Facilities Siting Policies, seeking to formalize some of its guidance regarding Section 6409.
  • The Supreme Court affirms the FCC’s ability to impose a Shot Clock on local government’s action on wireless applications in City of Arlington v. FCC (133 S.Ct 1863)

Coming in 2014 and beyond

  • New tower deployment will continue as demand continues to increase
  • Rural towers and fiber backhaul will continue to grow
  • February 3rd is the FCC deadline for initial comments in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Acceleration of Broadband Deployment by Improving Wireless Facilities Siting Policies”, an Order from the NPRM is likely before the end of 2014
  • There will be an increase in DAS and small cell sites to enhance the LTE networks
  • FCC will issue RF emissions safety standards – most likely not to change from the existing standards of today
  • Federal government is scheduled to auction 900 and 1800 MHz frequency bands.
  • TV stations relinquishing their frequencies will be the biggest industry discussions over the next few years.  The public demand for more personal spectrum will be the winner and over the air TV will likely cease to exist. See 5G technologies.

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