NATE Says Twilight Exclusion Helps Workforce Crunch

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 UPDATE The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) strongly supports the FCC’s plan to exclude so-called Twilight Towers from routine historic preservation review. The FCC proposed such a change in December, Inside Towers reported, to make more towers available for wireless deployment like broadband, including FirstNet and 5G.

In comments filed with the FCC late last week, NATE said: “For too long, the regulatory status of twilight towers has placed the industry in limbo and an affirmative vote by FCC Commissioners to exclude co-locations on these structures from routine historic preservation review is common sense policy.” Some 4,000 towers built between 2001 to 2005 couldn’t accept co-location because either they were built without historic preservation review or don’t have documentation that such a review occurred.

New towers will be built, but siting and planning, combined with permitting processes, are time-consuming, according to the association. Permitting more co-location will speed tower work as well as address workforce shortages.

“There are not, at present, enough qualified workers to perform all the tower work we will be required to complete for FirstNet, 5G, and the mandates of the broadcast repack. Co-locations on existing structures will be less labor-intensive than constructing new towers, thereby enabling us to utilize our tower technicians more efficiently,” says NATE. This, in turn, complements NATE’s efforts in using emerging technologies, such as drones, for tower inspections and free up tower technicians for other work “while facilitating the maintenance of or modification of existing towers.”  

January 23, 2018

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