National Historic Preservation Act

Consistent with Chairman Pai’s focus on accelerating infrastructure deployment to enable next generation wireless services, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) unanimously opened at its monthly meeting on December 14, 2017 a proceeding to exempt wireless communications equipment from historic preservation requirements under certain conditions.  The FCC’s action is directed at enabling operations on so-called “Twilight Towers” – wireless towers constructed between 2001 and 2005 that are claimed to have languished due to regulatory uncertainty.  The Commission describes this proposal as an action that would open up potentially thousands of existing towers for collocations without the need for either the collocation or the underlying tower to complete an individual historic preservation review.

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Highlighting the need for rapid infrastructure deployment to meet growing consumer data demands and support future 5G services, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted a Report and Order at its November 16, 2017, meeting to eliminate historic preservation review of replacement utility poles under certain conditions. The FCC’s limited action marks the first decision to come out of the much broader FCC rulemaking proceeding initiated earlier this year to foster wireless infrastructure investment and deployment. The item also consolidates the FCC’s historic preservation review requirements into a single rule to aid compliance.

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