A bill introduced in the California Assembly to streamline collocations has been pulled from the docket.
For reasons that were not readily apparent, Assembly Whip Chris Holden (D-Dist. 41) withdrew Assembly Bill 162, which mandates local governments in California approve modifications of existing wireless telecommunications facilities that do not substantially change their physical dimensions.
The measure also cut in half the amount of time a municipality has to process a collocation. After 45 days, according to the bill, a collocation application must be denied, or it will be deemed approved.
The bill was introduced late in January and referred several times to the Standing Committee on Local Government. A hearing on the bill was canceled on April 29 and was later was removed from consideration. A spokesperson for Holden said the bill will be reintroduced next year.
“Right now AB 162 is a ‘two-year bill,’ which means that it will not move forward in 2013. We understand that the sponsor, Assemblyman Holden, would like to conduct stakeholder meetings where the industry can learn more about municipalities’ concerns. PCIA is eager to participate in those discussions and looks forward to having a positive discussion,” Alex Reynolds, PCIA government affairs counsel, told AGL Bulletin.
Carriers supported the idea of having a shorter, consistent window for cell tower approvals, while the cities called the time frames “unreasonable.”
Carriers also supported the bill’s pre-emption of local governments from considering whether there is a gap in service in collocation hearings, which the cities said was just part of the process of creating a public record.
The bill’s collocation definitions are also more expansive than the collocation guidance provided by the FCC, defining “wireless telecommunications facilities” as towers, utility poles, transmitters, base stations and emergency power systems that are used to provide service.
The bill might have been pulled to give the Supreme Court time to rule on City of Arlington, Texas v. Federal Communications Commission, which is a case brought by the city against the FCC’s Shot Clock.