Updated: Oct 9, 2018

On June 4, 2018, several Petitions for Reconsideration were filed in response to the Wireless Infrastructure Second Report and Order (“Order”) on streamlining the siting review process (WT Docket No. 17-79; FCC 18-30). Notably, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (“NATOA”), the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma (“Tribal Petitioners”) and PTA-FLA each filed petitions concerning Tribal specific issues, among other issues.

Tribal Petitioners claim the order fails to adequately address existing limits on state and local authority that may prevent environmental or historic review processes, ignores the impacts of densely packed deployments in a small geographic area, and creates inconsistencies with the existing Commission rules. Tribal Petitioners also claim the order is flawed because the FCC has no authority to exempt 5G networks from traditional and statutory consultation procedures. Further, they assert that the Commission places significant weight on the fact that 5G infrastructure components will likely be smaller than macro towers, yet concedes that the newer infrastructure will be quite dense.

PTA-FLA’s petition argued that the Commission should have extended its “no federal undertaking” conclusion to include all tower structures not requiring antenna registration system (“ASR”) registrations or environmental assessments, noting there is no statutorily relevant distinction between tower heights for what constitutes a federal undertaking. PTA-FLA therefore asks the Commission to reconsider this conclusion and give non-federal undertaking treatment to all towers not requiring ASR registration or environmental assessments. Moreover, PTA-FLA argued that (1) the areas designated by Tribes as being of interest must be rationalized, as current consultation with Tribes for over-broad areas of interest adds unnecessary work, delay and expense, and (2) the FCC should clarify that fees paid to Tribes in the context of mutually agreed-to contracts with tower erectors outside of a Tribe’s own lands need not be negotiated as solemn matters of state, but are simply commercial agreements between the Tribes and private parties.

On July 24, 2018, the Commission published a Public Notice noting the Petitions for Reconsideration in the Wireless Infrastructure docket, in response to the Second Report and Order streamlining the siting review process.

On August 22, 2018, the Commission published the Petitions for Reconsideration in the Federal Register therefore establishing the following comment dates:

Oppositions to the petitions must be filed by September 6, 2018.

Replies to oppositions must be filed by September 17, 2018.

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