Comment Deadline Extended on WIA, CTIA Siting Issues

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The FCC extended the comment deadlines on petitions concerning towers filed by the Wireless Infrastructure Association and CTIA.

Trade associations representing utilities and local governments sought more time “to prepare meaningful comments that respond to the factual allegations raised in the petitions and to analyze the complex policy issues involved,” they told the Commission. The agency said an extra 14 days should be sufficient.

Comments are now due October 29, and reply comments by November 13.The agency also clarified that comments that exclusively address issues relating to clarifying the implementation of Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act should be filed in WT Docket No. 19-250 only. Filings that exclusively concern pole attachment issues should be filed in WC Docket No. 17-84 only. Filings addressing both categories of issues should be filed in both dockets.

WIA’s Petition for Rulemaking asks the Commission to amend its rules to reflect that co-locations requiring an expansion of the current site—within 30 feet of a tower site—qualify for relief under Section 6409(a) and to require that fees associated with eligible facilities’ requests under Section 6409 be cost-based.

WIA’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling asks the Commission to clarify (1) that Section 6409(a) and related rules apply to all state and local authorizations; (2) when the time to decide an application begins to run; (3) what constitutes a substantial change under Section 6409(a); (4) that ‘‘conditional’’ approvals by localities violate Section 6409(a); and (5) that localities may not establish processes or impose conditions that effectively defeat or reduce the protections afforded under Section 6409(a).

CTIA’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling asks the FCC to clarify the terms ‘‘concealment element,’’ ‘‘equipment cabinet,’’ and ‘‘base station’’ in the rules, and clarify that when an application is ‘‘deemed granted’’ under Section 6409, applicants may lawfully construct even if the siting authority has not issued construction permits. With respect to Section 224, CTIA asks the Commission to: (1) Determine that the definition of the term ‘‘pole’’ in Section 224 includes light poles; (2) conclude that utilities may not impose blanket prohibitions on access to certain parts of the pole; and (3) clarify that utilities may not ask attachers to accept terms and conditions that are inconsistent with the agency’s rules.

October 7, 2019   

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