Localities Oppose “Deemed Granted” Remedy

May 22, 2017–Representatives of the National League of Cities from Arizona and Georgia told FCC staff at a recent meeting that they oppose the adoption of a “deemed granted” remedy on local antenna sitings. In an ex parte filing in WT docket 17-79 reporting on a meeting with representatives of the Wireless Telecommunications and Consumer and Governmental Affairs bureaus, the NLC said its reps “strongly opposed the proposed ‘deemed granted’ remedy to missing shot clock deadlines, or any further shortening of shot clock deadlines. We discussed the circumstances that could lead to a shot clock deadline being missed, such as missing or incomplete information providers are asked to give local governments to finish processing a siting application. We raised concerns that while the public notice requests feedback on state or local regulations that may prohibit service, it does not inquire about industry practices that may do the same. If the Commission wishes to eliminate barriers to broadband, it must include barriers to local governments’ efforts to expand broadband. We also discussed the work that local governments are doing to collaborate with wireless infrastructure providers to ensure that wireless networks are deployed in a timely and reasonable fashion.”

The filing continued, “In Georgia, infrastructure providers are conducting ride-alongs with municipal staff and engineers to examine requested sites and tackle potential issues such as collocation or interference with existing infrastructure. We opposed any further guidance restricting local aesthetic requirements. These visual characteristics, which can vary greatly even within a single jurisdiction that contains historic neighborhoods or multiple ecosystems, are extremely important for retaining local character and property value.”

“We opposed further restriction of fees for locating on public land or structures,” the filing added. “Local governments, like private landlords, are entitled to collect rent for the use of their property and have a duty to their residents to assess appropriate compensation. In the case of Georgia, local governments are required by the state to collect this compensation – the federal government should also recognize this obligation. We discussed recent Arizona legislation that limits local authority in this area, and urged the Commission not to compound the challenges faced by these communities with additional limitations. Lastly, we encouraged the Commission not to enact further regulations until the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee has had an opportunity to discuss and make recommendations on these issues.”

Last month, the FCC unanimously approved a notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of inquiry exploring ways to streamline the siting of wireless infrastructure by identifying and removing regulatory barriers, including those imposed by state and local governments and the FCC’s historic preservation and environmental rules and procedures (TR Daily, April 20).- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily