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Seattle will challenge FCC ‘overreach’ on 5G

Small cell antenna
Deploying 5G cellular service will require the installation of many more small-cell antennas in neighborhoods. (Verizon Photo)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes say they intend to appeal an order from the Federal Communications Commission that mandates how much municipalities can charge for letting telecom carriers mount 5G cellular equipment on city-owned infrastructure.

The FCC’s commissioners voted to issue the order on Sept. 26, but it hasn’t gone into effect yet. When it does, it could slash Seattle’s utility-pole fees to a fraction of what they are now. The order also sets up “shot clocks” for city governments to rule on applications for 5G equipment installations.

The move is expected to reduce the costs of cellular service companies such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile by as much as $2 billion a year. But in a statement issued today, Durkan and Holmes characterized the order as a power grab.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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