The easy way to think these days says that local jurisdictions have been persuaded that the future of businesses and residents within their boundaries either have already come to rely on wireless communications or will soon come to rely on it so heavily that they are ready to promote antenna site development anywhere. The better the communications service, the more revenue various businesses in the localities can generate and the more money people who live in the area can earn. Maybe counties, cities and towns with better wireless communications will collect more in taxes when more money passes through the hands of its businesses and residents.
With that thought in mind, maybe the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order issued in and effort to accelerate wireless broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment should have been welcomed with open arms everywhere. However, some see the FCC action as unwarranted, ill-advised and counterproductive.
That is the other side, represented in a petition to the FCC to reconsider its action. We doubt that the FCC will change its decision in response. Instead, the petition probably will become one step in a series leading to a high court decision whether to overturn part or all of the FCC action or to order the FCC to undertake further study and then perhaps make changes.
Petitioners include a town, a city and a county; membership organizations of cities and municipalities; and the Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association.
The petitioners say that the FCC’s decision is inconsistent with its own regulatory agenda, the FCC failed to account for true cost recovery, municipalities should not be placed in a position of competing with the businesses that serve their cities and counties, and the FCC definition of business prohibition is overly broad. Moreover, the petitioners say that the revised shot clock poses numerous problems, the undergrounding of utilities should not be inhibited, and that minimum spacing required between wireless facilities and other facilities should be better defined.
Other than that, they thought the FCC decision was fine.
On a positive note, the petition says that the petitioners believe that sensible legislation can be enacted which serves the interests of timely application review, fair recovery of all costs related to use of rights of way and proper consideration of local concerns. It says that in revisiting its decisions, the FCC can create a regulatory framework that balances legitimate concerns between carriers and municipalities and that does not create an endless future of litigation.
Here’s hoping there won’t be an endless future of litigation.