FCC’s local preemption order won’t change Verizon’s 5G buildout

The FCC’s recent small cell preemption order won’t change Verizon’s 5G buildout plan, according to Verizon’s statement to investors. This stands in stark contrast to what Verizon told the FCC when it urged the agency to adopt the rule, writing to the Commission in August that some cities “unfortunately continue to slow deployment or block it altogether by demanding fees that far exceed costs.”

The FCC small cell order limits the ability of local governments’ to set fees, timelines, and set design guidelines for small cells placed on telephone poles and street lights in the public public rights-of-way. The FCC justified its preemption of local authority as a way to encourage faster 5G deployment by wireless carriers.

So far, more than 22 cities have sued to block the FCC’s preemption order. In September, CWA called the FCC’s small cell order “federal overreach” that curbed local governments’ ability to close the digital divide.


Verizon won’t speed up 5G buildout despite FCC preempting local fees (Ars Technica, Oct. 31, 2018).

Verizon Ex Parte Letter to FCC (FCC, Aug. 10, 2018)

CWA to FCC: draft small cell order is federal overreach (Speed Matters, Sep. 24, 2018)