May 29, 2014 / Alexandria, Virginia – The head of America’s wireless infrastructure association today lauded an effort launched by technology policy leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to support and expedite a Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rulemaking aimed at streamlining infrastructure deployment for mobile broadband. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urging his agency to “expeditiously and decisively” clarify the streamlining provisions contained in Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.
“Wireless infrastructure companies are working closely with the FCC to adopt clear rules to speed broadband deployment through the proper implementation of section 6409(a),” said Jonathan Adelstein, the President and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association. “Our industry is grateful that the House leadership recognizes the urgency of streamlining infrastructure deployment and is working with the FCC to make it happen.
“Removing red tape and clarifying the rules of the road are crucial for expanding wireless broadband – and to the many thousands of high-wage jobs such deployment spurs throughout the country. It will take a lot of infrastructure to address the wireless data crunch and meet the rising consumer demand for wireless data,” added Adelstein, a former FCC commissioner.
Congress passed Section 6409(a) in 2012 to better utilize existing infrastructure to expand mobile broadband coverage and capacity.
“[T]he Commission should adopt rules that provide consistency for applicants and reviewing authorities alike,” the House letter urged Wheeler. “The FCC should delineate an objective standard for when a modification ‘substantially change[s] the physical dimensions’ of a wireless facility. We agree with the Commission’s proposed approach of leveraging its existing rules, particularly the Collocation Programmatic Agreement, to craft this objective standard.
“Further, 6409(a)’s ‘may not deny, and shall approve’ mandate should establish a non discretionary review process and a ‘deemed granted’ remedy for eligible facilities requests, including those to structures deemed legal but non-conforming uses, so that these minor modifications and collocations can be submitted, processed and put into use as quickly as possible,” the letter stated.
In addition to Section 6409(a), the Commission’s other efforts to identify ways to foster broadband infrastructure deployment “warrant swift action,” the Members of Congress told Wheeler. “Facilitating both the deployment of small cells for targeted capacity and the use of temporary towers for short, sharp spikes in usage are part and parcel to meeting national broadband goals. Both are important tools for providing the robust service upon which consumers, businesses, and public safety rely.”
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PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association is the principal trade association representing the companies that make up the wireless telecommunications infrastructure industry. Its members include the carriers, infrastructure providers, and professional services firms that own and manage more than 130,000 telecommunications facilities throughout the world.