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Product ID: 406031EAU
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FCC Order Exempting Cell Towers and Other Communications Towers From Certain Local Zoning and Safety Laws

OnDemand Webinar (114 minutes)

Gain an understanding of the many legal and technical issues under the Order, including scope, constitutionality, effect on existing towers, new towers, and small cells.This updated topic covers the FCC's 2014 Wireless Siting Order implementing 47 U.S.C. 1455(a) that preempts state and local approval for many changes to communications towers and antenna sites, including the Order's relation to conflicts with the FCC's September 2018 Order aiding the installation of thousands of small cell sites in rights of way. We will describe the many legal and technical issues under the Order, including what types of changes are covered; the differing rules for small cell sites, antennas on buildings, along highways, and on camouflaged sites, and the Order's application process, the 60-day shot clock, and deemed granted remedy. This information will give you the tools to identify and discuss issues that are likely to be raised by wireless firms and municipalities regarding the Order, and will provide practical guidance on how they can identify, address and resolve common issues related to the Order. We will discuss current wireless industry requests to expand these rules. You will come away with useful legal and technical knowledge about what is certain under the Order, what is uncertain, and practical guidance on how to proceed.


John W. Pestle, Esq., Varnum LLP
Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq., Telecom Law Firm, P.C.


Overview of Wireless Siting Order

• Took Effect in Spring 2015

• Implements Section 6409(a) of 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief Act, 47 U.S.C. § 1455(a)

• Addresses Changes to Cell Towers and Antennas, Other Communications Towers

• Requires States, Municipalities to Approve Qualifying Changes to Eligible Facilities

• Defines What Changes, Modifications Are Covered

• Relation to, Conflicts With FCC September 2018 Small Cell Site Order

• Sets 60-Day Shot Clock to Act on Qualifying Changes

• Changes Not Timely Acted on Are Deemed Approved

Are Wireless Siting Orders, Section 6409(a) Constitutional?

• Federalism, Commerce Clause Limits on Federal Authority

• Blurs Political Accountability by Feds Commandeering Local Governments

Key Aspects of Wireless Siting Order

• Defines What Changes Are Substantial and Not Covered by Order

• Special Rules for Towers, Antennas in Streets and Rights of Way

• Order Covers Cell Tower, AM, FM, TV and Other FCC Communications Services

• Applies to Equipment Structures, Base Stations, Transmission Equipment

• Special Rules for Antennas on Buildings, on Other Structures

• Order Doesn't Affect Camouflaged Towers or Towers on State, City Property

• Zoning Laws Clearly Affected

• Effect on State and Federal Environmental, Historic Preservation Laws

• Building and Safety Code Compliance, Americans With Disabilities Act Unaffected

• Sixty Day Shot Clock to Act Applications, With Tolling Provisions

• Applications Not Tolled or Acted on in 60 Days Are Deemed Approved

• Potential Interactions Between Section 6409(a) and Changing State Laws