Thomas Magee Article Published in NWPPA Bulletin

Date: Mar 01, 2019

Keller and Heckman LLP partner Thomas Magee wrote an article for the March 2019 issue of NWPPA Bulletin titled, “FCC Power Grab of Small Cell Antenna Approval.”

The article discusses he next generation of cellular communications services known as 5G, that will require the placement of hundreds of thousands of small cell antennas on poles and other locations in public rights of way (ROW). The Federal Commu­nications Commission (FCC) estimates 455,000 of these sites by 2020. NWPPA (Northwest Public Power Association) member utilities own utility poles, and an import­ant question is whether the FCC's Small Cell Order applies to them.

The wireless telecommunications carriers have aggressively pursued state legislation to facilitate small cell antenna instal­lations in the ROWs, and to date 20 states have enacted small cell legislation. On September 26, 2018, the FCC adopted its Small Cell Order, which became effective on January 14, 2019.

Shortly thereafter, a bill was introduced in Congress called the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empow­ering Local Communities Act of 2019 (HR 530), that would overturn the FCC's preemption of state and local regulation of 5G wireless services. Unless and until the Small Cell Order is overturned by the 9th Circuit or by federal legislation, it remains in effect.

To read the full article, please click here.