FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has acted on a petition filed by CTIA to establish timeframes within which permits for wireless tower sites must be approved.
In a declaratory ruling adopted today, the FCC established timeframes of 90 days for collocations and 150 days for all other tower siting applications reviewed by state and local governments. CTIA had petitioned the FCC to establish a timeframe of 45 days for collocation and 75 days for other facilities.
In a written statement on the ruling, Genachowski said that the longer timeframes were “more consistent with preserving State and local sovereignty and with the intent of Congress.” He added that the FCC would “continue to monitor this area closely.”
The move is intended to speed the deployment of next-generation wireless networks after the FCC found that there are “many instances of unnecessary delays” in the processing of applications by state and local jurisdictions. The new rules allow an applicant to file a claim for relief in court within 30 days of the jurisdiction’s failure to meet the newly established deadlines.
The FCC also granted CTIA a petition which asked the commission to clarify that a zoning authority may not deny an application filed by one provider based on the presence of another wireless provider in the area.
However, the FCC denied a request from CTIA to find that it is a violation of the Communications Act for a state or local regulation to require a variance or waiver for every wireless facility siting.
In a statement on the ruling, CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said the industry association “sincerely appreciated” the quick action on the tower siting issue but did not comment on the denied request.
“CTIA and the wireless industry look forward to continuing to work with the Commission, state and local zoning authorities and others involved in tower siting to provide more Americans with the most advanced wireless services and technology on the planet,” he said.