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Urge California’s Congressional Delegation to Oppose Legislation that Puts Wireless Industry Profits over Public Interests

July 11, 2018
Congress is about to consider legislation that gives the wireless industry authority to install small cell wireless equipment on tax-payer funded property without local input or fair compensation for this access.
 
S. 3157 (Thune and Schatz) is strikingly similar to last year’s SB 649 (Hueso), which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed after more than 325 cities and the League put a bright spotlight on the fact that the bill was a give-away to the telecommunications industry at the expense of the people.
 
Essentially, the so-called Streamline Act would shift authority away from residents, local businesses and communities to a private industry beholden to its shareholders. Profits would be put above consideration and public benefits to the people and businesses in local communities. S. 3157 would force cities to lease out publically owned infrastructure, would eliminate reasonable local environmental design review and would prevent cities from negotiating fair leases or public benefits for the installation of small cell wireless equipment on public property.
 
S. 3157 sets dangerous precedent for local authority because it: 
  • Imposes sharply reduced “shot clock” time limits for local governments to process potentially unlimited wireless facility applications for all sizes;
  • Deems granted on applications for facilities when local governments are unable to meet the stringent time limits;
  • Could result in approved applications regardless of their safety, health or environmental impacts;
  • Interferes with local governments’ management of their own property and their ability to receive appropriate compensation for its use;
  • Eliminates market-based rents for small cell facility installations and even limit “fees” for applications as well as recurring rent fees for use of city property; and
  • Fails to grandfather any existing agreements between cities and providers or tower companies, and it would preclude agreements such as those recently struck by the City of San Jose with AT&T and Verizon. 
What Cities Can do to Stop S. 3157
 
Cities are very familiar with the wireless industry’s approach to eliminate local discretion over wireless equipment installation on public facilities and the fact that this legislation, like SB 649, does not ensure that all residents have access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband.
 
S. 3157 will be heard in the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee as early as Wednesday, July 25. It is imperative that cities contact California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, as well as their House representative to communicate opposition.
 
Cities as well as individual city officials are urged to take action on S. 3157 using prepared sample letters or using the National League of Cities’ easy one-step online letter generating tool.
 
Sample letters are available on the League’s website that can be tailored to each city: Additional Resources
 
City officials may also want to review several other documents in preparing opposition to S. 3157 including:


 
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