Topic 9- Government Regulation


Federal Regulation

Since frequency spectrum is allocated by the FCC on behalf of the federal government to existing and would-be wireless carriers, the FCC is obliged to serve as the lead government agency to regulate the commercial mobile services or wireless industry. Numerous federal laws and actions foster the creation, development, nurturing, and protection of the commercial mobile services sector, including arrangements to increase frequency spectrum availability.1 As such, federal regulatory oversight is an ongoing critical aspect of wireless industry structure.

For instance, a provision in Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 restricts local jurisdictions from prohibiting or having the effect to prohibit the provision of personal wireless services, unreasonably discriminating among providers of functionally equivalent services, and “regulating the placement, construction, and modification of wireless facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with” federal regulations.2 In Section 6409(a) of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, local governments are mandated not to deny but instead to approve permit requests for collocations on existing wireless towers, as long as the physical dimensions of the existing tower are not substantially increased.3 These and other actions by the federal government further national siting policy for wireless facilities.

As of spring 2017, wireless industry siting policy is very much on the minds of regulators at the local, state, and federal4 levels considering the numerous undertakings of the FCC, the US Congress, and state legislatures.5

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