FCC Votes To Speed Up Process For Installing New Wireless Towers


Credit: Tricia Duryee

The FCC unanimously voted to impose a “shot clock” for wireless tower applications to speed up the time it takes to install new cell phone networks.

The vote makes good on a promise that Chairman Julius Genachowski made only last month at CTIA. While the industry, in general, typically tries to avoid regulation, the idea of speeding up cellphone towers received the only applause from the audience.

TheHill.com reports that CTIA has been pushing for this ruling for some time. In fact, it claims that it knows of 760 applications that have been waiting for responses by state and local governments for over a year. About 180 applications have been waiting for more than three years.

In a statement issued today, CTIA said the “shot clock” would require state and local zoning authorities to act within a reasonable, fixed timeframe on wireless tower siting requests. As part of that, the FCC set a reasonable review period and clarified that a zoning authority may not deny an application filed by one provider based on the presence of another wireless provider in the area.

From the FCC’s perspective, the ruling was necessary in order to achieve its other goal of getting broadband into as many people’s hands as possible. Commissioner Robert McDowell said he hopes the action will free will enable carriers to “squeeze more efficiencies out of the airwaves” while the FCC takes on the much longer task of reviewing ways to reallocate spectrum.

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