American Tower Urges FCC to Give Relief to Macro Towers As Well


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American Tower supports the FCC’s proposal to erase barriers to locally siting small cell infrastructure. But it doesn’t want the Commission to forget that macro tower deployment needs relief from rising costs and delays too.

AMT lobbyists met with some of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division staff this week. They also spoke with one of Commissioner Brendan Carr’s legal advisors by phone, according to a filing.

American Tower welcomes the FCC’s draft order to remove localities’ barriers to siting small cells. AMT believes the draft preserves municipalities’ ability to address aesthetic concerns. The company also appreciates the inclusion of shorter permitting application decision-making shot clocks and clarification of Section 332 shot clocks, applicable to both small cells and macro sites. AMT advocated for such outcomes, saying “they help balance the need to accelerate infrastructure deployment with local government concerns and will encourage use of co-location,” writes Michael Pryor of Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and law firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck.

American Tower stressed the critical role that macro sites play in the deployment of wireless broadband services. It notes that network deployments will consist of multiple layers — including traditional macro towers with a combination of small cells and other technologies — all deployed to increase network capacity. Given macro towers’ critical role in the deployment of 5G, AMT discussed the need to address issues that it says are causing unnecessary delays and increasing the costs of co-locating on or constructing macro towers.

“One such issue involves revising rules to exclude from review, compound expansions necessitated by additional providers co-locating on existing facilities, just as such expansions are currently excluded from review when towers are replaced,” writes Pryor. AMT also urged agency officials to quickly resolve the pending Twilight tower proceeding. Comments? Email us.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

September 14, 2018