Cities Sue FCC to Stop $2 Billion Gift to Wireless Carriers

After FCC vote, cities try to restore local control over 5G fees and equipment.

By Jon Brodkin, Oct 3, 2018 | Original ARS Technica article here.

Cities are already suing the Federal Communications Commission over its decision to preempt local rules on deployment of 5G wireless equipment.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes yesterday said their city intends to appeal the FCC order in federal court. Seattle will be coordinating with other cities on a lawsuit, they said in a press release:

In coordination with the overwhelming majority of local jurisdictions that oppose this unprecedented federal intrusion by the FCC, we will be appealing this order, challenging the FCC's authority and its misguided interpretations of federal law.

The FCC says its order will save carriers $2 billion, less than one percent of the estimated $275 billion it will take to deploy 5G across the country.

UPDATE: Portland filed a lawsuit against the FCC.

 

The Ruling [Third Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling, In the Matter of Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment By Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, FCC 18-111, WT Docket No. 17-79] exceeds the FCC’s statutory authority; is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion; and is otherwise contrary to law, including the Constitution of the United States. The City respectfully requests that this Court hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside the Declaratory Ruling; and grant such
other relief as it may deem appropriate.

Respectfully submitted,, Joseph Van Eaton, Best Best & Krieger LLP

Continue reading “Cities Sue FCC to Stop $2 Billion Gift to Wireless Carriers”

5G is Wireline to Wireless Bait and Switch

. . . Because It Makes The Telcos More Money

by Bruce Kushnick, Oct 2, 2018; Original Medium article here.

What AT&T & Verizon Tell Investors But Are Hiding from the Public.

Introduction

Let's be very clear. Verizon and AT&T have one goal:

Goal: To make more profits for their investors by removing all regulations and public utility obligations.

Continue reading “5G is Wireline to Wireless Bait and Switch”

Your Town’s Role in 4G/5G Expansion

by Robbie McBeath Round-Up for the Week of September 17-21, 2018; Original post here.

The September 26, 2018 FCC vote to approve WT Dockets 17-79 and 17-84 means local governments need to start planning immediately on zoning, application processing cost recovery, antenna design, location and spacing, additional pole and equipment aesthetic requirements, and other issues.

On September 26, 2018 at the Federal Communications Commission’s open meeting, commissioners voted through an order that will limit the roles of local policymakers in the desnsified deployment of 4G and 5G wireless infrastructure. So one might ask, why doesn’t my town get a say in this?

In a fact sheet introducing the order, the FCC promises it will:

Continue reading “Your Town’s Role in 4G/5G Expansion”

US Cities React in Fury to FCC’s $2 Billion Dollar Gift to Telecoms

We’ll be picking up the tab, say city officials.

Federal price cap will undercut existing agreements, says just about every big city in America.

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco, Sept 22, 2018 | Original The Register article here .

A plan to impose a federal price cap and one-size-fits-all model for the roll out of next-generation mobile networks has been met with fury by US cities. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle and dozens of other cities have responded in anger to a public comment period on two proposals from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Those proposals would override the cities’ ability to charge mobile operators for positioning 5G cell towers on their property and instead impose a single, federal fee. The FCC claims that the proposal will remove $2 billlion in "unnecessary fees" and lead to $2.5 billion in additional network investment. The plans – which the FCC intends to vote on next week – would also oblige local governments to make a decision on applications for new cell sites within three months and would remove several common reasons for denying such applications.

While the FCC claims this would be a great development, the local and state governments whose authority would be undermined by the proposal are notably less excited.

The city of Chicago states [pdf] :

"We disagree with the Commission’s flawed and overreaching effort to mandate how cities manage small cell deployments. We respectfully request that the Commission delay consideration… until the document reflects a balanced approach respectful not just of industry demands but also of cities’ obligations to fairly, safely, and efficiently manage the public way and other public assets."

Continue reading “US Cities React in Fury to FCC’s $2 Billion Dollar Gift to Telecoms”

John Dvorak: 5G Got Me Fired

by John C. Dvorak, formerly of PC Magazine | Read the Original “No Agenda” post here.

As you all know, I was unceremoniously fired from PC Magazine on Sept. 20th, 2018. I just figured it was the new people coming in and I was an unneeded throwback to the old regime. This sort of thing happens a lot. Then one of the No Agenda producers noticed a recent column of mine was pulled from the magazine and redirected to someone else’s column about the same subject.


S4WT Comment: Dvorak’s original PC Magazine article, The Problem With 5G, is preserved here:

Here’s how Dvorak tweeted the news:

Yesterday I was fired from PC Magazine under the bogus notion that the columns were put on hiatus and I could call next year. So after 36 years of loyalty I get no phone calls from “friends” Vivek Shah or Dan @dancosta but a curt email telling me I’m out. It’s rude.

John C. Dvorak (@THErealDVORAK) September 21, 2018

Continue reading “John Dvorak: 5G Got Me Fired”

Cities Are Teaming Up to Offer Broadband

By Susan Crawford, Sept 27, 2018; Original Wired article here

. . . and the FCC Is mad about it . . .

This is a story that defies two strongly held beliefs. The first — embraced fervently by today’s FCC—is that the private marketplace is delivering world-class internet access infrastructure at low prices to all Americans, particularly in urban areas. The second is that cities are so busy competing that they are incapable of cooperating with one another, particularly when they have little in common save proximity.

These two beliefs aren’t necessarily true. Right now, the 16 very different cities that make up the South Bay region of Southern California have gotten fed up with their internet access situation: They’re paying too much for too little. So they are working together to collectively lower the amounts they pay for city communications by at least a third. It’s the first step along a path that, ultimately, will bring far cheaper internet access services to the 1.1 million people who live in the region.

You might think this is impossible. It’s true that many city officials have argued that regional collaborations are resource-intensive and bound to fail. That’s the case in the Boston area, where a city official in Malden (7 miles from Boston City Hall) bluntly told researchers, "I couldn’t support regional government at all. Each community has its own unique set of circumstances and facts and issues."

The South Bay partnership suggests a promising alternative: Maybe cities can cooperate and save money without compromising their local autonomy.

At this same moment, though, the FCC is on a march to

  • Smother local authority by blocking states from regulating any aspect of broadband service,
  • Support barriers to municipal networks,
  • Deregulate prices for lines running between cities, and
  • Remove local control over rights-of-way that could be used to bring cheaper access into town.

The FCC would like to bar other regions from acting in just this kind of sensible way.

Continue reading “Cities Are Teaming Up to Offer Broadband”

FCC Vote WT-17-79 Transcript

From The FCC Live Stream

Warning: Massive Federal Overreach Committted by the FCC This Morning . . .

Previous Statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran on recent FCC proposals diminishing local government ownership rights over local rights-of-way and other public property:

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly opposes recent proposals by the Federal Communications Commission to grant communications service providers subsidized access to local public property and to dictate how local governments manage their own local rights-of-ways and public property. This unprecedented federal intrusion into local (and state) government property rights will have substantial adverse impacts on cities and their taxpayers, including reduced funding for essential local government services, as well as an increased risk of right-of-way and other public safety hazards.

We believe the courts will conclude that FCC’s proposals are based on misguided interpretations of federal law. Congress previously addressed and resolved these issues resoundingly in favor of local and state governments and their property rights. The Conference and its member cities reject efforts by this unelected federal regulatory agency to improperly invade state and local government authority by compelling local elected officials to subsidize, or ‘gift’, local public property to a small, favored group of private businesses. According to FCC’s own estimates, just one of these actions — the proposed small cell rules — threatens future revenues to local (and state) governments by billions of dollars over the next decade.

The Conference of Mayors strongly opposes these proposals and calls on the agency to change them; absent such changes, the Conference and its members will seek relief in federal court to overturn this unprecedented overreach by the FCC.”

SECRETARY: THE THIRD ITEM ON THE AGENDA IS PRESENTED BY THE WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU AND IS ACCELERATING WIRELESS BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT BY REMOVING BARRIERS TO INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT. ACCELERATING WIRE LIN BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT. CHIEF OF THE BUREAU WILL GIVE THE INTRODUCTION.

CHAIRMAN PAI: IF YOUR TEAM IS READY THE FLOOR IS YOURS.

>> GOOD MORNING, MR. CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONERS. I’M PLEASED TO PRESENT A DECLARATORY RULING AND THIRD REPORT IN ORDER AND COMMISSION’S ACCELERATING WIRELESS BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT BY REMOVING BARRIERS TO INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PROCEEDING. I’M JOINED AT THE TABLE BY STPHFRPLT LISTING NAMES]

AND ADDS TO THE STAFF AT THE TABLE I WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE LISTED ON THE SLIDE FOR THEIR WORK ON ITEM. DARRELL WILL NOW PRESENT THE ITEM.

>> GOOD MORNING, MR. CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONERS. WE PRESENT TO YOU TODAY A DECLARATORY RULING FOR STATE AND LOCAL IMPEDIMENTS TO EMPLOYMENT OF 5 G AND OTHER SERVICES. IT WILL REAFFIRM THE CALIFORNIA STANDARD FOR SPWRPT BEING SECTIONS 253 AND 332 OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT. UNDER THAT STANDARD A STATE OR LOCAL REQUIREMENT CONSTITUTES AN EFFECTIVE PROHIBITION VIOLATIVE OF 253 AND 332 IF IT MATERIALLY LIMITS OR INHIBITS THE ABILITY OF ANY COMPETITOR OR POTENTIAL COMPETITOR TO COMPETE IN A FAIR AND BALANCED LEGAL AND REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT. THE DECLARATORY RULING WOULD CLARIFY THE STATE AND LOCAL FEE AND OTHER CHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH DEPLOYMENT OF WIRELESS INFRASTRUCTURE ARE CONSISTENT WITH SECTIONS 253 AND 332 ONLY IF THEY ARE A REASONABLE APPROXIMATION OF THE STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT COST AND COST FACTORED INTO THE FEES ARE OBJECTIVELY REASONABLE AND FEES ARE NO HIGHER THAN THE FEES CHARGED SIMILAR SITUATED COMPETITORS IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS. THE DECLARATORY RULING WOULD PROVIDE GUIDANCE ON THE APPLICATIONS OF THIS STANDARD IT OTHER STATE AND LOCAL RESTRICTIONS INCLUDING UNDERGROUND REQUIREMENTS MENT MENT IT WITH ESTABLISH 332 SHOT CLOCKS FOR STATE AND LOCAL REVIEW OF SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES APPLICATIONS. SPECIFICALLY IT WOULD ESTABLISH A SHOT CLOCK FOR SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES AND CONSTRUCTION OF NEW SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES. DUE TO THE SHORTENED SHOT CLOCK TIME FRAMES LOCAL AUTHORITIES WOULD BE ABLE TO RESTART THE SHOT CLOCKS IF THEY NOTIFY THE APPLICANT OF MATERIAL DEFICIENCY IN THE APPLICATION WITHIN 10 DAYS. THE REPORTING ORDER WITH CODIFY THE EXISTING SHOT CLOCKS THAT THE COMMISSION ESTABLISHED IN 2009 AND ESTABLISHED A NEW REMEDY AVAILABLE IT APPLICANTS WHEN AUTHORITIES FAIL IT ACT IN THE NEW 332 SHOT CLOCKS. THE THIRD POINT WITH CONCLUDE THE SHOT CLOCKS APPLY TO ALL AUTHORIZATIONS NECESSARY FOR THE DEPHREULTLOYMENT OF SERVICES AND FOR APPLICATIONS IS THE SAME AS IF THE APPLICATIONS WILL BEEN SUBMITTED INDIVIDUALLY. COLLECTIVELY THE MEASURES IN THERE RULING AND ORDER WOULD ELIMINATE REGULATORY BARRIERS THIS UNLAWFULLY INHIBIT THE DEPLOYMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY TO SUPPORT ADVANCED WIRELESS SERVICES AND WOULD ESTABLISH PROCEDURES THAT WITH EXPEDITE THE DEPLOYMENT OF WIRELESS INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS THE NATION. WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU RECOMMENDS ADOPTION AND REQUESTS EDITORIAL PRIVILEGES TO MAKE TECHNICAL OR CONFORMING EDITS.

CHAIRMAN PAI: THANK YOU FOR THAT PRESENTATION. IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME PRESENT PRESENTING?

>> SECOND.

CHAIRMAN PAI: WELL DONE. COMMENTS FROM THE BENCH.

Continue reading “FCC Vote WT-17-79 Transcript”

30+ FCC Actions in 2017-2018 Eliminate States Rights and Consumer Protections

By Bruce Kushnick. Sept 26, 2018; Original article here

FCC Actions for Proceeding Docket 17-79

Wireline Telecommunications Bureau (WTB)

Num Division Item Date Form
1 Office of General Counsel Doc 8/17/18 PUB NOTICE
2 WTB & WCB Docs 8/3/18 R&O
3 WCB Docs 8/2/18 OTHER
4 Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Doc 7/24/18 PUB NOTICE
5 WTB Doc 7/2/18 PUB NOTICE
6 Communications Business Opportunities Doc 5/3/18 OTHER
7 WTB Docs 3/30/18 R&O
8 WTB Doc 3/22/18 OTHER
9 WTB Docs 12/14/17 PUB NOTICE
10 WTB Docs 12/14/17 OTHER
11 WTB Docs 11/17/17 R&O
12 WTB Docs 11/16/17 OTHER
13 WTB Docs 7/13/17 ORDER
14 WTB Docs 5/26/17 ORDER
15 WTB Docs 5/11/17 PUB NOTICE
16 WTB Docs 5/11/17 PUB NOTICE
17 WTB Docs 4/21/17 NPRM
18 WTB Docs 4/20/17 OTHER
19 Office of Chairman Ajit Pai Docs 3/30/17 OTHER
20 WTB Docs 3/30/17 PUB NOTICE

Continue reading “30+ FCC Actions in 2017-2018 Eliminate States Rights and Consumer Protections”

The Real Race is to Serve All Americans

Adapted from an article by Tom Wheeler September 25, 2018; Original article here

September 28 will see a White House rally to promote U.S. leadership in fifth generation (5G) wireless technology. I was part of a similar event at the Clinton White House in 1993 that promoted the importance of making more spectrum available through auctions that were then being considered by Congress. This time around, it looks like the messaging will be around the “5G race” between the United States and China

Wireless Industry groups warn that the U.S. is in third place behind China and South Korea when it comes to 5G. The so-called “5G gap” has become the go-to rationale for all kinds of industry-sought policy changes. Judging by how the issue is framed, the U.S. is on the verge of losing the “5G race” to China.

  • T-Mobile and Sprint warn that the U.S. will lose the 5G race if the companies are not allowed to merge (while announcing their own non-merged 5G deployment plans).

  • The Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has used the race to justify extending Washington’s regulatory reach down to telling local governments how to do zoning for antenna siting (this from the “deregulatory” administration).

  • Satellite operators such as Intelsat, whose C-Band transmission business has atrophied, have discovered they can recast their licenses as “5G spectrum”. The satellite companies are asking the Trump FCC for permission to conduct a private auction that would allow them to reap a potential monetary windfall instead of U.S. taxpayers.

It is time to take a deep breath and let logic temper emotional battle cries and political gamesmanship. We need to spend less time worrying about China and more time asking how we can race to make broadband work for all Americans.

Continue reading “The Real Race is to Serve All Americans”

Nine US House Members Oppose FCC Action That Harms Consumers

Rep. McNerney Leads Letter Urging FCC to Delay Vote Undermining Communities’ Ability to Meet Needs of Residents

By Jerry McNerney Sep 25, 2018 Press Release here

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09), along with eight Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, requesting the proposed Streamlining Deployment of Next Generation Wireless Infrastructure Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order be removed from tomorrow’s Open Meeting agenda.

The letter was also signed by

  1. Congressman Mike Doyle (PA-14)
  2. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06)
  3. Congressman Eliot Engle (NY-16)
  4. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
  5. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09)
  6. Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At-Large)
  7. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
  8. Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03)

The letter reads:

"Dear Chairman Pai:

We support swift deployment of 5G and are concerned that the proposed Streamlining Deployment of Next Generation Wireless Infrastructure Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order (“Declaratory Ruling and Order”) will set us on a path that will ultimately delay 5G efforts. Many cities and counties of varying sizes across the country have spoken out against this proposal and urged the Commission to cooperatively address key concerns so as to avoid harm to consumers and localities. Given the reasons outlined below, we ask that you remove the item from the Open Meeting agenda and take the time needed to resolve these issues. Thoughtful consideration now will benefit consumers and avoid unnecessary delays that may result from future litigation.

We are excited about the opportunities that 5G will bring—including its potential to increase broadband connectivity, transform health care and transportation, and make our power grids more efficient — and we are eager to see 5G deployed. However, in order to achieve the best outcome for consumers, it is crucial that 5G be deployed in a way that carefully balances the interests of both communities and the wireless carriers. The Declaratory Ruling and Order clearly falls short of striking such a balance.

Continue reading “Nine US House Members Oppose FCC Action That Harms Consumers”