Keller and Heckman Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII, Issue 50

FCC Revises Tower Rules to Require Public Notice and Comment Period

Last week, the FCC released an Order on Remand adopting a notification process for new towers to provide members of the public with an opportunity to comment on the environmental impact of proposed antenna structures. The Order stems from a 2008 decision by the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which found that registered towers may have a significant environmental effect on migratory birds (See, Vol VIII, Issue 39). Applicants seeking to construct a tower taller than 450 feet must prepare and file an Environmental Assessment with the Commission for the proposed structure. In addition, applicants seeking to construct a tower that requires an Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") number from the FCC must provide local notice of the proposed tower through publication in a local newspaper or other appropriate means and submit a partially-completed FCC Form 854 to the Commission for notification purposes. The Commission will post the partially-completed Form 854 on its website in searchable form for 30 days to permit interested parties to comment on the proposal. If no objections are raised, the FCC will grant an ASR number at the expiration of this 30-day notice period. The new rules will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register, which is expected in the next few weeks. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

"Applicants should factor the 30-day Public Notice period into construction timelines as the FCC's revised rules will add an additional layer of review to the tower approval process."
-Wes Wright
Attorney, Keller and Heckman LLP

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