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Wireless facilities Telecom tower codes in the U.S.

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
  1. As a condition of telecomm tower approval, can a municipal board require the developer to provide free space on the tower for public antennae for emergency services or public works communication networks? Please share any relevant code language you might have.

  2. Opinions (educated or otherwise), please, on this code language:
    To ensure that the tower or antenna installation acutally benefits the Town's residents, it is required that the company [placing antennae on said tower] offer service, through its normal plans, to residents of the Town. This service shall extend throught the larget metropolitan area found within 30 miles of the Town's perimeter without the imposition of roaming charge.
    This language makes me queasy, but I don't know enough about telecom law to figure out why. Seems to me that service areas and roaming charges are beyond the pervue of local regulators.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
NHPlanner is ourn resident telecomm expert....

Where are you drawing your legal basis? There is no authority granted in the 1996 act specifically authorizing such conditions. I've never seen a court challenge to this kind of requirement but it seems like corporate blackmail to me. You're basically making them either design a more substantial structure or lose a paid co-locator.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,901
Points
38
SGB:

In terms of providing space for public safety communications, I do not believe there is any authority to require such provision of space on WCF's. The only language I believe you can have in related to interference with public safety communications. You can certainly negotiate with providers for space on a tower, but I do not believe you can require free space.

From my model ordinance (thesis from Ball State, available online):

4.8 Interference with Public Safety Telecommunications
No new or existing telecommunications service shall interfere with public safety telecommunications. All applications for new service shall be accompanied by an intermodulation study which provides a technical evaluation of existing and proposed transmissions and indicates all potential interference problems. Before the introduction of new service or changes in existing service, telecommunication providers shall notify the municipality at least ten calendar days in advance of such changes and allow the municipality to monitor interference levels during the testing process.
In a nutshell, on the service provsion to Town residents.....I think you're headed for legal trouble with the language you posted. No way in hell that would ever stand up in court....that would be violating the TCom Act of 1996, in that you'd essentially be discriminating or showing preference to a service provider.....big no-no.

Chet said:
NHPlanner is ourn resident telecomm expert....
Ugh.....I used to be up on all the wireless stuff......fortunately, I don't deal with it nearly as much as I used to....
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
NHPlanner said:
Ugh.....I used to be up on all the wireless stuff......fortunately, I don't deal with it nearly as much as I used to....
Hey, NHP - you're still the closest thing we've got to telecom expert 'round here!

;)

Thanks for your response. I'm now being batted back & forth between the FCC and the State PUC staff as I search for either federal or case law references I can cite to our local town in question.

State PUC: "Better call FCC on that one"
FCC: " think that's a state PUC question."
:-@
I'm now waiting for a call back from an FCC attorney, who will hopefully provide the needed references.
 

solarstar

Cyburbian
Messages
207
Points
9
Good luck with the FCC. I've worked with towers for a few years now, and haven't really had many "encouraging", or even informational, conversations with them. The FAA is another matter, but that's not the issue here.

I agree that I don't think you can require free space for public safety. However, thanks to Homeland Security, public safety access is now more of a concern. When we had a tower provider with a somewhat controversial tower that we had no intention of supporting, they were smart enough to get the local Sheriff's Office on board with possible access and that was enough to get it approved. In addition, Florida initially proposed legislation requiring jurisdictions to automatically approve any proposed towers if they were to be used in any way for public safety purposes. After an uproar, that was toned down but is still a strong selling point for a tower location in the state.

Finally, we changed the local code to allow providers who agree to provide a public service to go higher than commercial-only towers (as long as aviation concerns are met), so it is in their best interest to provide a public safety antenna.
 
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