Cellular Industry Ask FCC to Preempt Local Tower Authority: FCC Grants 2-Week Extension
By Ron Thaniel
September 15, 2008
On August 14, the Cellular Telephone Industry (CTIA) asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to declare new limitations on local zoning authority as it affects cell tower siting.
The Petition for Declaratory Ruling requests that the FCC “clarify” provisions of the Communications Act of 1934. It contends that Section 322 (c)(7)(B) is ambiguous and has been interpreted by the courts to allow unnamed zoning authorities to impose unreasonable impediments to wireless facility siting and the provision of wireless services.
Gerry Lederer, with the communications law firm of Miller & Van Eaton, said that the CTIA requests would create a “shot clock” of 45 or 75 days for wireless antenna or tower zoning applications; rule that applications are automatically deemed granted if a local government misses the FCC’s deadline; prevent localities from considering the presence of service by other carriers in evaluating an additional carrier’s application for an antenna site; and preempt any local ordinance that would effectively require a variance for every tower application.
The initial comments on the CTIA petition were scheduled for September 15 and reply comments for September 30. At the requests of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, and National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisor (NATOA), the FCC granted an extension. The new deadlines are September 29 for the comments and October 14 for reply comments.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is encouraging cities to file comments and/or reply comments. NATOA has provided a template at http://www.natoa.org/comment-template-response-to-c-1.html.