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FCC Opens Proceeding to Consider Further Limits on Local Control over Wireless Facilities

September 30, 2019
On Sept. 13, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice seeking comments on petitions filed by two cable and telecommunications industry groups asking the FCC to “interpret” Section 6409 and the implementing regulations in ways that are unfavorable to local governments.
 
Section 6409 requires that state and local agencies must approve collocation on existing facilities and the removal or replacement of existing facilities where there is not a substantial change to the physical dimensions of the facilities.
 
Industry groups are asking the FCC to:
  • Narrow the interpretation of what is considered a substantial change;
  • Start the shot clock running from when the applicant has made a good faith attempt to request local approval;
  • Prohibit conditional approvals; and
  • Allow an applicant to proceed with constructing the facilities without permits if the application has been deemed granted where the local agency hasn’t acted within the time limits imposed by the shot clock regulations. 
As with the small cell regulations currently being litigated in the Ninth Circuit, these petitions continue the industry’s efforts with the FCC to limit local authority over wireless facilities.
 
Opening comments are due on Oct. 29. The League will join a coalition of cities and other local government associations in submitting comments opposing the industry petitions.


 
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