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CTIA Chief Urges FCC to Revise Wireless Siting Process

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:00am
Ben Munson

CTIA CEO Meredith Attwell Baker implored the FCC to revise rules in order to speed up the process for building and updating cellular network sites.

In an op-ed, Attwell Baker said a “commonsense national approach to further streamline and modernize the wireless siting process is long overdue.”

Specifically, she outlined four reforms that curtail state and local governments’ ability to excessively impede work on network infrastructure.

First, the FCC should limit the ability of state and local authorities to delay the collocation and replacement of wireless infrastructure that have minimal impact on communities.

Second, the FCC should permit the speedy deployment of temporary towers used to respond to local emergencies and newsworthy events and to assist local law enforcement.

Third, the FCC should curtail unnecessary delays at the local level by imposing a 45-day limit on collocation approvals. After all, as Congress recognized, these wireless facilities already have received the necessary zoning approval, so why impose further impediments?

Fourth, the small size and flexible placement of DAS and small cells warrant streamlining the environmental and historic review processes — including the adoption of certain exclusions — for deployment of these facilities.

Attwell Baker said many municipal leaders treat requests to install new or upgrade existing infrastructure with “indifference or outright resistance.” She added that some local leaders spend months deliberating, that in some cases litigation can delay the process for years, and that some towns have placed local moratoria on infrastructure work.

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