FCC Wants to Help Round up More COWS and COLTS

Launches New Initiatives to Boost Wireless Broadband
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FCC chairman Julius Genachowski Friday announced several new actions in the FCC's Broadband Acceleration Initiative. They include streamlining deployment of mobile infrastructures -- towers, small cells and distributed antenna systems.

A release from the chairman's office said that the commission and "defined and clarified" a technical provision regarding local review of tower modifications, launched a proceeding to speed the placement of temporary cells on wheels (COWs) and cells on light trucks (COLTS), which are used at flash mobs of potential cell congestion, like the Super Bowl.

The chairman also plans to streamline the deployment of small cell technology, look at whether the FCC's tower citing shot clock offers sufficient clarity to industry and municipalities." (FCC moves to speed tower citing via shot clocks on local reviews are currently the subject of a Supreme Court case about the limits of FCC authority)"

"Just as is the case for our nation's roads and bridges, we must continue to invest in improvements to cell towers and transmission equipment, in order to ensure ubiquitous, high-speed Internet for all Americans," the chairman said in a statement.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel was particularly pleased with the tower citing portion, suggesting it had a familiar ring.

"I am particularly grateful that the Commission will be moving forward with my earlier proposal to craft model rules for broadband and wireless facility siting for state and local governments," she said, referring to a speech last November at a Silicon Flatirons conference where she made the proposal. "These off-the-rack model ordinances should help harmonize President Obama's Executive Order 13616 for facility siting on federal land and property, wireless facility policies in Section 6409 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, and the Commission's existing shot clock rules for tower siting. By streamlining this process with model rules we can provide a way forward for state and local governments looking to oversee deployments within their borders. But more than that-we can make progress by promoting a more predictable set of laws all across the country."