UTC ‘Troubled’ by FCC Regulations Preempting Local Review of Small-Cell Devices

 

Washington—Sept. 26, 2018 – Utilities Technology Council President and CEO Joy Ditto issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission established a new rule lowering the costs and restricting the time municipalities—including public-power utilities—have to review small-cellular device siting applications:

“We are still reviewing today’s action by the Federal Communications Commission. At first blush, we are troubled by the Commission’s decision to threaten to preempt local authorities who are best suited to review applications to site small-wireless facilities. The utility industry understands the need for regulatory certainty when it comes to infrastructure projects. Planning system upgrades, replacements, and new infrastructure takes time and money, so a deliberate review is essential to the process. Such review gives the public confidence that any new infrastructure is safe, sound, reliable, and state of the art.

“Unfortunately, the plan approved today by the FCC reduces many of these safeguards and overreaches in its effort to promote the deployment of 5G small cellular facilities. By imposing regulatory limits on the fees governmental entities can impose for small-cell attachments to municipal infrastructure—including utility poles—the FCC is overstepping its authorities under the Communications Act, which prohibits such action. Moreover, despite the rhetoric that regulating these fees would result in broader deployment of 5G services, the reality is that the digital divide is increasing as wireless and wireline communications providers have either discontinued or significantly reduced the quality of their services in rural America. Reports commissioned by state agencies have concluded that lower pole-attachment fees have no impact on the deployment of broadband services in rural America. Yet the FCC today approved rules that subsidize the wireless industry with no corresponding evidence that doing so will benefit anyone but the telecom industry itself. Worse, those Americans in unserved and underserved locations are unlikely to see any additional investment in improved broadband and wireless services.”

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About UTC
The Utilities Technology Council (UTC) is a global trade association dedicated to serving critical infrastructure providers. Through advocacy, education and collaboration, UTC creates a favorable business, regulatory and technology environment for our members who own or operate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems in support of their core business. For more information: UTC.org