Verizon Sues City of Rochester Over Small Cell Siting

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Verizon sued the city of Rochester, NY, alleging the city’s Telecommunications Code violates FCC rules. At issue are fees for siting small cells, pole attachments and rights-of-way compensation, according to WHAM-TV. The company asserts Rochester’s fees for underground and aerial installations are unreasonable and “discriminatory.”

The case began after the carrier tried to upgrade its network for 5G. Verizon says it submitted plans to the city, including changes to comply with the code. 

However, the carrier asserts the code enacted by the city did not include Verizon’s suggestions, which the carrier alleges would make the code compliant with the FCC’s rule.

In April, Verizon says it learned “an unavoidable and actual controversy exists” with the city, according to the account. In July, the carrier alleges, Rochester told Verizon it needs to sign a master license agreement, complete permit applications and pay all fees that stacked up after the code became effective, reported WHAM

According to the just-filed suit, the city’s actions caused, “an effective prohibition on Verizon Wireless’s ability to provide telecommunications services in the affected area of the City” by impacting its ability to compete with other carriers in the market. The telecom wants the city to stop enforcing its code, and seeks costs and expenses to be paid for.        

A spokesman for the city of Rochester calls the lawsuit frivolous. “The City of Rochester is dedicated to ensuring its infrastructure is protected and maintained to benefit taxpayers,” Rochester Director of Communications and Special Events Justin Roj told WHAM. “Other communications providers are complying with the law while building out their networks and paying the necessary fees. These fees are comparable to what other cities required.” The city is “confident” in its position against the lawsuit and will have no further comment, Roj added. 

August 14, 2019   

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