The FCC has agreed that local authorities must approve or deny applications for new radio towers within 150 days, or 90 days for additional kit on existing towers.
The new rule, widely known as a "shot clock" in reference to sporting time limits, means that state and municipal authorities will have to respond to applications within the specified limits, with applicants having 30 days to take the authority to court if a decision isn't reached.
The new rules also prevent authorities denying permission on the basis that the area already has cellular cover from a competing network, so Americans can expect to see a lot more base stations over the next few years.
The CTIA, which represents the US cellular industry, could barely contain its glee. "CTIA and the wireless industry look forward to continuing to work with the Commission, state and local zoning authorities and others involved in tower siting to provide more Americans with the most advanced wireless services and technology on the planet," it said.
Getting 4G networks deployed is going to need more base stations, particularly if a wider range of frequencies are to be used, and the new rules should prevent some of the obstacles to that happening. ®