NAR: FCC’s 5G Plan Could Hurt Property Owners

June 24, 2019

The National Association of REALTORS® and other real estate organizations are urging the Federal Communications Commission to heed caution and ensure that its proposal to expand high-speed 5G networks nationwide doesn’t violate property owners’ rights.

A coalition of real estate groups, including NAR, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Apartment Association, and the Institute of Real Estate Management, among others, submitted a letter to the FCC expressing concern over its proposed rule regarding over-the-air reception devices. The coalition says the rule could make it easier for antennas and other devices to be placed on properties without the owners’ consent. The coalition flagged these two potential issues:

  • The rule could allow residential or commercial tenants to install a 5G small cell or other wireless infrastructure on a balcony or within a leased space to boost individual coverage and also transmit a signal to other customers of the telecom provider.
  • The rule could allow a telecom carrier who already leases rooftop space from a property owner (for antennas or other equipment) to be able to attach a 5G small cell or other wireless infrastructure on that existing equipment without having to change their agreement with the property owner.

5G is touted to be 100 times faster and five times more responsive than 4G and 4G LTE, the technology being used today on most smartphones and wireless devices.

“The real estate associations strongly support the deployment of broadband infrastructure of all kinds because apartment residents, commercial tenants, and their customers need and want the service that the infrastructure supports,” the coalition wrote in its letter to the FCC. “With the rise of e-commerce, changes in how consumers access media, and our ever-increasing reliance on the Internet for basic functions, broadband connectivity is a top priority for the industry.”

However, the letter continues: “The real estate associations believe strongly the marketplace is working, and so we urge the Commission to avoid measures that could prove counterproductive, and thereby harm investment, constrain competition, and limit consumer access to broadband service. We are also concerned that inopportune regulation could raise the cost of developing multifamily housing and commercial real estate.”

NAR Comments on FCC Proposal,” the National Association of REALTORS®