Under the Sunroom Desk paperweight were links on the FCC’s moves last week to expand access to broadband. Unfortunately, the commission has interpreted its role to include expanding wireless industry access to real estate for building more cell towers. The top two links are directly from the FCC; underneath are press reports.
FCC Open Meeting, November 18, 2009 – Petition for declaratory ruling (below) was approved with industry-encouraging statements from each commissioner, followed by a panel discussion for the FCC on progress toward the 2010 National Broadband Plan.
Declaratory Ruling to Clarify Provisions of Section 332(c)(7)(B) to Ensure Timely Siting Review and to Preempt Under Section 253 State and Local Ordinances that Classify All Wireless Siting Proposals as Requiring a Variance – adopted by the FCC, November 18, 2009 – sets time limits for municipal consideration of cell site applications but does not preempt local ordinances classifying wireless siting applications as requiring variances.
FCC discusses barriers to national broadband plan – CNET, November 18, 2009 – summarizes the commission’s open meeting panel discussion on universal broadband access costs and challenges.
Bigger U.S. Role in Broadband Is Likely – Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2009 – discusses broadband penetration in the U.S., lack of spectrum, and the increasing use of smartphones, along with the fact that more towers will be needed to send signals to all those mobile internet devices:
The agency took a step toward expanding wireless Web access by passing a new rule Wednesday to help wireless companies speed up local officials’ decisions on new cellphone towers. Wireless companies asked the FCC for help, because they have had problems in the past getting state and local land-use regulators to make decisions on siting new cellphone towers.
FCC Speeds Cell Tower Reviews – Information Week, November 19, 2009 – is one of the few articles (joining Sunroom Desk’s posts) to lead with the fact that municipalities are now under an FCC “shot clock” when they review cell tower applications, although it takes the industry view that this is a good thing. Cell providers have plans to start “blanketing” their markets with high-frequency signals:
The move comes as many major cellular operators are looking to deploy 4G networks at a rapid pace. Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Clearwire are already delivering 6 Mbps to mobile users with their WiMax network, and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless plans to have up to 30 markets blanketed with its Long-Term Evolution network by the end of 2010.