stock_11272012_0902On Monday, May 18, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the effectiveness as of that same date of the remaining wireless infrastructure rules the agency adopted in October 2014.  In an earlier blog post, we explained that the rules adopted by the FCC in its Wireless Infrastructure Report and Order were taking effect in phases.  The newly effective rules were held up pending review by the Office of Management and Budget.

The principal rules taking effect May 18 fully implement the new 60-day “deemed granted” remedy for companies when the State or local reviewing body fails to act in a timely fashion on eligible facilities modification requests that do not substantially change the physical dimensions of the antennas structure.  This rule was adopted to implement Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which provides, in part, that “a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.”  This means that companies no longer need wait for actual approval for qualifying deployments in the event the State or local government does not act within sixty days. 
Continue Reading Last Pieces of Wireless Infrastructure Order Take Effect

At the FCC’s October Open Meeting on October 17, the Commission unanimously adopted a Report and Order to update its rules and procedures for new and modified antenna structures.   In the News Release following the vote, the Commission noted the new rules are expected to create the foundation for increased advanced wireless broadband deployment nationwide.  In their comments at the Open meeting, the Commissioners focused on the effect the new rules will have to facilitate Distributed Antenna Systems (“DAS”) and small cell deployment.

The full text of the Report and Order has not yet been released.  The new rules will take effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register.  The longer period was a concession to  Commissioner Clyburn’s concerns about the burdens on state and local governments to comply with the new rules, which will impose a “shot clock” on state and local government review.
Continue Reading FCC Eases Process for Tower Construction and Wireless Infrastructure Deployment

Mike Dover contributed to this blog post.

The Federal Communications Commission continues to pave additional avenues for building out wireless broadband networks and installing other high speed links, but questions linger over the authority of state and local governments to review and even block wireless infrastructure trying to capitalize on the FCC decisions. For example, on August 12, the Commission revised its Part 15 rules, releasing a Report and Order in ET Docket No. 07-113 that, among other things, allows unlicensed transmitters at 57-64 GHz to operate outdoors at higher power levels provided the equipment meets certain threshold requirements. The Commission envisions these regulatory changes will better support very high speed wireless data transfer and multimedia streaming over longer distances than previously could be achieved at these frequencies, as well as make the 60 GHz millimeter wave band more useful for 4G wireless backhaul connections.

Continue Reading Questions About Scope of Local Authority May Come to Fore Given Expanded Opportunities for Unlicensed Deployments

In a much anticipated decision with potentially widespread ramifications across all federal agencies charged with implementing federal statutes, the United States Supreme Court has permitted the so-called “shot clock” rules of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) applicable to wireless siting applications to remain in effect. By a 5-4 margin on May 20, 2013