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FRED UPTON, M ICHIGAN

HENRY A. WAXM AN, CALI FORNIA

CHAI RMAN

RANKING ME M BER

ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS

C!Congre£)£) of tbe Wniteb ~tate£)

J!)ouse of l\epresentatibes

COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

2125 RAYBURN H ousE OFFICE B u iLDING

WASHINGTON, DC 20515-6115

549

M

Mmonly (202) 225-3641

May 29,2014

The llonorable Tom Wheeler

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 Twelfth Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

With the spectrum provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of

2012 ("'Spectrum Act"), Congress set the stage to bring valuable spectrum to market to meet

wireless broadband demand, to provide first responders an interoperable nationwide wireless

broadband network, and to generate needed revenue for the Treasury. In addition to making more

spectrum available, there arc other steps that must be taken to meet consumer demand for

wireless services and build the nationwide public safety network -

namely, expanding existing

networks and deploying next generation networks. Congress passed Section 6409(a) with the

intent of streamlining the approval of eligible facilities requests and to avoid lengthy and costly

disputes that thwart the et1icient use of existing wireless infrastructure in expanding mobile

broadband coverage and capacity.

In January of 2013, the Commission initiated a rulcmaking proceeding to adopt rules to

clarify and implement Section 6409(a). In commencing this action, the Commission expressly

acknowledged the need of stakeholders for guidance as to how Section 6409(a) should be

applied. Today, more than a year later, the need for that guidance remains.

Time is of the essence. We urge you to take swift action to clarify the terms of Section

6409(a) consistent with the intent of the statute to deliver the benefits of wireless broadband

access to all Americans. To ensure that 6409(a) achieves its goal of streamlining the approval of

eligible facilities requests, the Commission should adopt rules that provide consistency for

applicants and reviewing authorities alike. The FCC should delineate an objective standard for

when a modification "substantially changcfsl the physical dimensions" of a wireless facil ity. We

agree with the Conunission's proposed approach of leveraging its existing rules, particularly the

Collocation Programmatic Agreement, to craft this objective standard.

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Letter to Chairman Wheeler

Page 2

We also agree in principle with many of the Commission's tentative conclusions for the

definitions of other key terms of 6409(a). "Wireless tower or base station" should, at a minimum,

include structures that support or house an antenna, transceiver, or other associated equipment

that constitutes part of a base station, even if they were not built for the sole or primary purpose

of providing such support. "Base station" should include antennas, transceivers, and other

associated equipment like fiber and coaxial cable, backhaul equipment, and regular and backup

power facilities.

Further, 6409(a)'s "may not deny, and shall approve" mandate should establish a non-

discretionary review process and a "deemed granted" remedy for eligible facilities requests,

including those to structures deemed legal but non-conforming uses, so that these minor

modifications and collocations can be submitted, processed and put into use as quickly as

possible.

In addition to Section 6409(a), the Commission's other efforts in the rulcmaking

proceeding to identify ways to foster broadband infrastructure deployment warrant similar swift

action. Facilitating both the deployment of small cells for targeted capacity and the use of

temporary towers for short, sharp spikes in usage are part and parcel to meeting national

broadband goals. Both are important tools for providing the robust service upon which

consumers, businesses, and public safety rely.

If you have any questions, please contact David Redl with the Energy & Commerce

Committee statl at (202) 225-2927.

Sincerely,

Chairman

cc:

The Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member

House Comrnittee on Energy and Commerce

The Honorable Anna Eshoo, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

The Honorable Jessica Rosenworccl, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

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Letter to Chairman Wheeler

Page 3

The Honorable Ajit Pai, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

The Honorable Michael O'Rielly, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

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