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Reducing Roadblocks For More Towers

While I am known not to agree with the CTIA on a great many things, I do like to point out when I think they’re going in the right direction. A recent post talks about a problem that all consumers face on some level–poor coverage.

In many cases, poor coverage can be tracked to one thing and one thing only: a lack of towers. Mobile network operators spend years trying to get approval from local authorities–even in cases where no new towers are being built! There’s no reason for approvals to take that long.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 actually addresses this problem already, but there are loopholes in the laws that are being exploited by some municipalities to restrict the building of towers. The CTIA wants four changes:

  • Specific timeframes a state or locality must act on wireless facility siting requests: 45 days for colocation requests, 75 days for other types of siting requests.
  • If the relevant party fails to act on these applications within the appropriate timeframe, the applications are to be deemed granted by default, unless the delay can be jsutified by the state or local zoning authority.
  • Ensure that zoning decisions don’t have an effect that prohibits additional entrants from providing service in a given area.
  • Preempt local ordinances and state laws that subject wireless siting applications to unique, burdensome requirements, such as those treating all wireless siting requests as requiring a variance.

You can read the text of the request here (warning: PDF file). It’s generally god stuff there.

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