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January 15th, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) introduced H.R. 530, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019, legislation to overturn Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations limiting the ability of local governments to regulate the deployment of 5G wireless infrastructure.
“Having served in local government for a decade on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, I understand and respect the important role that state and local governments play in protecting the welfare of their residents,” said Rep. Eshoo. “5G is essential for our country’s communications network and economy, but it must be deployed responsibly and equitably. The FCC let industry write these regulations without sufficient input from local leaders. This has led to regulations that restrict cities from requiring carriers to meet the needs of communities in which they want to operate.”
“The FCC forced Congress to act by failing to listen to reasonable input from communities across the country, cowering to industry interests, and failing to put the public interests first. This legislation will preserve the ability of local communities to negotiate fair, market-based broadband deployment agreements and close the digital divide that exists for 34 million low-income and rural Americans,” said Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose. “We want to thank Rep. Eshoo for her leadership on this issue.”
“We applaud Congresswoman Eshoo for her leadership on behalf of local governments,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. “Cities, towns and villages are eager to welcome new technologies like 5G, but must retain the authority to protect the diverse needs of residents and communities. Federal agencies should work more closely with local leaders to understand those needs, which the FCC’s actions failed to do.”
“Counties are committed to ensuring that all residents have access to affordable broadband while timely 5G facilities and services are deployed. As we achieve these goals, we must also fulfill our responsibilities as trustees of public property and rights-of-way, without adding unnecessary red tape,” said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties. “We thank Representative Eshoo for introducing a bill that preserves the role of counties and other local governments as true partners in advancing 5G technology everywhere.”
“We welcome Congresswoman Eshoo’s effort to set aside the Federal Communications Commission’s actions that unnecessarily benefit one industry at the expense of our communities,” said Nancy L. Werner, General Counsel of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. “They do nothing to ensure that all communities—rich, poor, urban, rural, and everything in between—will see the benefits of increased broadband deployment. Local governments have the ultimate responsibility for safeguarding their communities.”
On August 2, 2018 and September 26, 2018, the FCC adopted regulations limiting the abilities of cities and states to regulate small cell sites (e.g., pole attachments) needed for the deployment of 5G. The actions limit the type and amount of fees cities and states may charge, set “shot clocks” as low as 60 days for cities and states to authorize proposals, and limit non-fee requirements cities and states may institute. The regulations began taking effect on January 14, 2019.
The City of San Jose is leading a coalition of nearly 100 cities, towns, counties, and associations of localities in suing the FCC arguing that the agency lacks the statutory authority to issue such regulations. The Cities of Burlingame, San Bruno, and San Francisco have also joined the City of San Jose in its lawsuit. Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14) joined Rep. Eshoo as a cosponsor of the bill.
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