March 14, 2017
With the broadcast incentive auction bidding recently completed, all eyes are on the process of relocating TV stations to their new channels, known as “repacking.” And the FCC has set a 39-month deadline for the broadcasters to leave their spectrum.
During the 39-month timeline, the wireless infrastructure industry will be hustling to build towers, modify towers, attach antennas, and rework backhaul links — among other things.
If the changing of physical plant was all that had to transpire, the FCC’s repacking window would probably be adequate, but the compliance process may prove to be a stumbling block to making the deadline, Cory Crenshaw, FCC-FAA regulatory compliance consultant, Crenshaw Communications Consulting, told an audience during the NATE UNITE 2017 conference, Feb. 28, in Fort Worth. The compliance process, however, can take six to 24 months or more, she noted.
“The 39-month period would be reasonable if transitioning the broadcasters was all that you were doing, but other factors are at play that have not been accounted for, such as regulatory compliance issues,” she said. “They missed a huge piece, the compliance and waiver process, which is a red flag that can hold systems up. The compliance processes are complex and sometimes take months to years – each site must be individually evaluated.”
Crenshaw said that the repack will require work on more structures than just the broadcast tower. There might be 30 other communications structures spread out across the coverage area that feed into the network. Compliance filings may be needed for all of those structures, whether they are new towers, reinforcements, new antenna heights, lighting changes or environmental assessments.
“Every one of those towers may to need to be touched,” she said. “Those touches will require a massive volume of filings with the FCC and the FAA for repacking.”
Crenshaw: Don’t Delay Regulatory Compliance Filings
The wireless infrastructure industry must be vigilant in making its regulatory filings with the FCC and the FAA from the get-go to give it the best shot at completing the repacking process before the FCC’s deadline, Crenshaw said.
Construction permits have to be filed no more than 90 days after the Closing and Reassignment Public Notice is released. There is flexibility to expand contour coverage of applications filed in the initial 90-day window – with justification and appropriate showings.
“If you have an idea of a way to expedite the process, please file those applications as soon as possible. The FCC wants to make it as easy as possible to move forward,” she said. “The initial 90-day window is the window of opportunity for everything. If you need to file an STA [special temporary authority] or a waiver or something like that, get it in during the first 90 days. Whenever you file an STA or a waiver on a major mandate like this, you must have a really good reason, be sure to give them a documentation trail on why this is justified.
“In reality some tower owners won’t know they need to file for a waiver on the scheduled deadline or any other waiver concern until in the middle of a process,” Crenshaw added.
The first 30 days after the [Closing and Reassignment Public Notice] comes out, the industry will need to be busy doing thorough assessments of the broadcasters’ networks and what the infrastructure looks like. What changes do they really need to make? Do new towers need to be built, dishes moved around, or does the backhaul need to revamped? Once that is done, the proper paperwork should be filed with the corresponding federal agency and/or tribes as soon as possible.
EDITORS’ Note — This article was supplemented with an exclusive interview with Crenshaw.
March 2, 2017 —
FORT WORTH, Texas – Decorated Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and FirstNet President TJ Kennedy delivered keynote remarks during their respective appearances at this week’s NATE UNITE 2017 Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
Yesterday, Marcus Luttrell captivated NATE UNITE 2017 attendees with his inspirational message of courage, survival, teamwork, honor and patriotism at the T-Mobile sponsored Keynote Speaker Luncheon. Marcus Luttrell is a retired Navy SEAL who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Luttrell is also the author of the best-selling book, Lone Survivor.
“Wow…..Marcus Luttrell’s impactful message was amazing and will be remembered for a long time by all of the conference attendees who were fortunate to be in the room,” stated NATE Trade Show Committee Chairman Joel Hightower of Hightower Communications, Inc. in LaGrange, North Carolina. “It was an honor to welcome an authentic American hero like Marcus Luttrell to NATE UNITE 2017,” added Hightower.
During the NATE UNITE 2017 Keynote Luncheon, T-Mobile also unveiled a video highlighting the carrier’s Military Honors and Support Community initiative that embraces the hiring of military veterans in the workplace. T-Mobile has a strong national track record of hiring employees with military backgrounds to work in the wireless industry.
On Feb. 28, FirstNet President TJ Kennedy was the featured speaker at the NATE UNITE 2017 Awards Luncheon. During his address, Kennedy provided an update on the status of FirstNet and highlighted the important role that tower contractors and infrastructure providers will play in the safe deployment of the nation’s first public safety broadband network.
TJ Kennedy was one of the first leaders to join the FirstNet team in July of 2013 and now serves as President of the organization. TJ is an experienced executive with a unique leadership background that includes technology expertise and coalition building as well as hands-on public safety experience in police, fire and emergency medical services. After starting his career in public safety, he advanced to senior-level positions in Fortune 500 companies.
“It was great having TJ Kennedy join us at NATE UNITE 2017 to update attendees on the next steps associated with the planning and future deployment of the FirstNet network,” said NATE Chairman Jim Tracy, CEO of Legacy Telecommunications, Inc. in Burley, Washington. “NATE members will be on the front lines helping deploy this transformative public safety broadband network and so TJ’s remarks were engaging and timely,” added Tracy.
For more updates on NATE UNITE 2017, visit www.natehome.com.
March 1, 2017
FORT WORTH, Texas – The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) today released a Broadcast Repack safety video during the NATE UNITE 2017 Keynote Luncheon sponsored by T-Mobile. The timely video is the second to debut as part of Volume 2 of the NATE Climber Connection series and coincides with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently concluding the bidding phase of its historic incentive auction, paving the way for post-auction broadcast repack work to begin in the future.
The Broadcast Repack video provides a detailed overview of the unique rules and challenges associated with conducting work on massive broadcast towers. The video also includes practical information on elevator safety tips, climbing taller structures and the additional risks involved with structural modifications on broadcast towers. Additionally, the video includes breathtaking aerial views and footage of tower technicians working on 2,000 feet broadcast towers.
“This video is a great safety resource for the industry as it prepares for the upcoming spike in broadcast tower work related to the post-FCC Incentive Auction,” said professional engineer and active climber Thomas B. Silliman, PE, President of Electronics Research, Inc. in Chandler, Indiana. “Working on broadcast structures is an entirely different animal and it is paramount that workers in the industry are properly trained and qualified to conduct this work during the all-important repacking phase,” added Silliman.
Click HERE to watch the Broadcast Repack safety video. NATE encourages tower climbers and all wireless and broadcast industry stakeholders to actively participate in this campaign by posting the Broadcast Repack video on their respective social networking platforms using the hashtag #ClimberConnection. NATE also encourages tower climbers to share their personal safety tips through social interaction on the Association’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Climber Connection Volume 2 campaign was developed by the NATE Member Services Committee in conjunction with the NATE Safety & Education Committee and is designed to provide specific resources and communicate the Association’s message directly to the industry’s elevated workforce.
For more information on NATE, visit www.natehome.com.
February 16, 2017 — NATE UNITE 2017 is renowned as the annual event specifically focused on companies and individuals involved with, or interested in, broadcast and telecommunications tower erection, service and maintenance. Recognized as a vital forum for those who design, engineer, construct, service and maintain broadcast and communications structures, NATE UNITE 2017 facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences; the ability to actively participate in a variety of educational sessions and optional courses; and provides a tremendous opportunity to revitalize and strengthen your company’s
commitment to safety, while networking with peers, colleagues, technical experts and friends, all in one facility.
Two tracks of focused educational sessions, Technical and Administrative/Business, will be offered at NATE UNITE 2017. These sessions will offer attendees in-depth discussions on how new technological advancements and recent standards issues will affect project performance and implementation. Individuals attending the educational sessions will have the opportunity to receive a certificate of participation.
The following educational session/speaker lineup has been confirmed for Wednesday, March 1:
Educational Session 11
Safety Equipment Inspection
Jocko Vermillion, CITCA LLC
John Lamond, GME Supply Co
Educational Session 12
Insurance…Are We Covered?
John McGarvey, BB&T Insurance Services
Educational Session 13
Rigging 101: Developing a Rigging Plan
Justin Huggins, P.E., Enertech Resources
Taylor Sealover, Crown Castle
Educational Session 14
The Path to 5G and the Future of Deployment
Jeff Lewis, Texas State Wireless Association & VERTICOM
Jim Parker, Texas State Wireless Association & Huawei
Educational Session 15
Rooftop Access and Safety Solutions: What You Need to Know
Kevin Denis, Gravitec Systems, Inc.
Educational Session 16
Transitioning Your Business: Real World Exit Options for Specialty Contractors
Chris Daum, FMI Corporation
Participants are also able to maximize their time at NATE UNITE 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas by receiving additional training all in one location. At this year’s NATE event, the optional courses being offered include: Competent Rigging, RF Safety Awareness, Competent Rescuer Recertification, Medium Intensity LED & Xenon Training, and Capstan Hoist. Participants must register in advance with a full conference registration pass. All courses have a limited number of participants and registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To register for NATE UNITE, view the full Schedule-of-Events or for further information on optional courses, visit www.natehome.com.
February 9, 2017 — Bronto Skylift, a manufacturer of truck-mounted aerial work platforms (AWPs) will be showing and demonstrating its Model S-174 XDT truck-mounted aerial platform in Booth 701 at the National Association of Tower Erectors’ NATE UNITE 2017 Conference & Exposition. Held in Fort Worth, Texas on February 27 – March 2, the Bronto machine will be among the tallest and most versatile aerial devices ever shown at a NATE exposition.
Model S-174 XDT is a telescoping/articulating aerial device that features a 174-foot working height with a whopping 100-feet of horizontal outreach and up to 1,400-pounds capacity in the spacious 93-inch x 36-inch platform. Mounted on a go anywhere chassis, the S-174 XDT allows you to drive to a location and raise the boom to precisely place the working platform almost anywhere on the tower.
Set-up features a single control button that activates the outriggers and leveling system, which can be positioned in less than a minute. Identical control panels are located on the platform and at the turntable control station for additional safety.
On-hand to explain the many benefits of Bronto aerials will be Alan Hoffman, Tom Goyer, Steve Starling and Janne Pulkkinen of Bronto Skylift, and management of TGM Wind Services including Kevin Darby (CEO, owner), Ripley Clayton (CFO) and Keith Darby (Operations manager). TGM was recently named a distributor of Bronto products for 10 states.
For more information, please contact Janne Pulkkinen, Vice President, Bronto Skylift Inc, tel. 321 666 0286, firstname.lastname@example.org.