The FCC unanimously approved the wireless industry’s petition to set time limits for local processing of cell site applications. While the FCC ratified time limits of 90 days for co-locations, and 150 days for new applications, it did not go along with the industry’s proposal that applications be “deemed approved” if prescribed time limits were exceeded.
A Los Angeles resident working to keep cell sites away from residential areas noted that remarks of all the commissioners demonstrated their interest with encouraging or “streamlining” deployment of infrastructure:
“Repeatedly, they used phrases such as the alleged pressing need to:
* cut local red tape
* accelerate deployment of networks
* remove obstacles to rolling out necessary ubiquitous infrastructure
* allow more robust deployment of antennas
* ease local roadblocks
* allow more platforms for antennas
* boost getting more infrastructure built
* speed up the ability of the industry to roll out new 4G networks”
Glendale joined with municipalities around the country, engaging expert counsel to advocate against this petition. No opposition was even mentioned by commissioners or wireless industry presenters. Multiple comments (here) submitted by citizens concerned with unknown future health effects of ubiquitous cell towers, and/or the erosion of local zoning rights, were also completely ignored at the meeting.
Just a day earlier, researchers held an international conference in Norway on the long-term effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation, and a nationally-syndicated TV show featured a segment on the link between cell phones and cancer.
An analysis from the Coalition for Local Oversight of Utility Technologies (www.cloutnow.org):
Under the FCC’s ruling, a wireless carrier may now file a lawsuit in federal court if its application has not been approved by a local government in 90 days (3 months) for co-locations and 150 days (5 months) for new tower applications. However, under the FCC’s ruling the application is not automatically deemed granted after those deadlines. Instead, the courts are to treat each case according to the specifics involved and make any rulings accordingly, which presumably would mean courts have the option of sending the application back to the local planning authority to give them more time to process it.