Responding to the FCC 19-250
Comments Due July 22, 2020
Wireless companies are asking the FCC to "clarify" its interpretation of a law regarding the ability of wireless companies to modify existing installations.
Back in 2012, Congress passed the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act," a sweeping bill that not only gave Americans a tax break, but also included a lot of miscellaneous provisions that have nothing to do with taxes or jobs.
One of those provisions was the "Spectrum Act," which was adopted to allow telecoms to make minor modifications to previously approved wireless facilities. Now, the telecoms want the FCC to "clarify" 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act - and the FCC is poised to grant their wish.
Under the new proposed rule changes, telecoms would be able to vastly expand their wireless facilities without any municipal hearings or oversight, allowing them to construct virtually anything they want within up to 30 feet of their existing footprint. It would also trigger shot clocks without any application and allow construction to begin without any permit.
In short, it's one more example of how the FCC is ready and willing to give the telecoms anything they want. The agency isn't even trying to hide the fact that it has transformed itself from a regulatory agency into an unabashed cheerleader for the industry.
This week, we're asking you to comment on Docket No. 19-250 by submitting your comment through the FCC's electronic comment filing system (ECFS). Remember to save a copy of your response to the FCC and forward it to your federal legislators' offices for their review!
Sample Comment: (Docket No. 19-250)
I strongly oppose the efforts of the wireless industry to have the FCC "clarify" the plain language of Section 6409 (a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012.
The proposed rule changes, if enacted, would constitute a massive power grab by the wireless industry, trampling on the rights and abilities of local officials to control the deployment of wireless technologies in their communities.
The FCC has already eviscerated many of the safeguards local communities once had to determine how new technologies are integrated into their area.
Section 6409(a) was intended by Congress to cover only those minor modifications that were not deemed significant. It was never intended to eliminate the ability of localities to protect the aesthetics of their communities, to allow applicants to avoid the payment of fees, to trigger shot clocks without actually submitting applications, or to begin construction without receiving permits.
Finally, the Commission is proposing these major changes at a time when local governments are necessarily focused on handling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is unreasonable to expect that distracted officials in municipalities across the country will be able to mount a reasonable defense to this aggressive power grab initiated by the wireless industry and aided by the FCC.
Thank you for your consideration of my views on this critical matter.