BDAC Passes State Model Code to Ease Broadband Deployment

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After much wrangling, members of the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Group voted on a model code for states Friday. The group met over two days and will pass on their recommendations to the FCC. The point is to have a reference, states can use to speed wireless infrastructure siting applications including fiber and small cells, for example.

Much of the discussion Thursday centered on whether to adopt major portions of the state code, since the FCC voted in September on many of the issues to ease small cell deployment. Several members, including Allen Bell of Georgia Power, questioned the purpose of “doing anything inconsistent” with what the agency has passed.

Kelly McGriff, of Southern Light and the state model code working group chair, said the body is not bound “to be in lockstep” with the Commission. “Chairman Pai will tell you it’s not the final word. It’s already being litigated,” said McGriff, referring to lawsuits filed by several states and municipalities. “Would we have our work come to naught because we decided to mute ourselves?”

Considering a siting permit to be “deemed granted” if a municipality does not act within a certain amount of time was discussed. BDAC member and WIA President Jonathan Adelstein, noted the FCC left that out of its September action, but believed the agency wanted to include that, “if they had more authority.”

In the end, “deemed granted” language was included in the final version. McGriff said he hears from local governments all over the country that say: “We don’t have enough people, and it will take months” to get to your application. “This will make them sit up and get this done,” he said.

Other committee members noted some 20 states use “deemed granted” or similar language to give certainty to processing wireless infrastructure siting applications.  Comments? Email us.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

December 10, 2018

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