FCC Pushes Localities to Okay New Cell Towers

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed deadlines on state and local governments on when they have to approve new cell tower sitings.

The FCC, in a Nov. 18 ruling, said it is “reasonable” for applications for collocation of new cell towers on existing sites to be acted upon within 90 days of submission and the erection of new cell towers within 150 days.

“This action will assist in speeding the deployment of next generation wireless networks while respecting the legitimate concerns of local authorities,” the FCC stated.

If a jurisdiction fails to act on an application within the stated time frame, the applicant can file a claim for relief in court after another 30 days.

The FCC also ruled that a state or local government cannot deny a wireless service facility siting application because service is available from another provider. But the commission also gave localities the right to require a zoning variance or waiver for every new wireless tower siting.