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Hillicon Valley reports that the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt rules designed to speed up the process of getting new nodes on wireless phone networks. State and local governments now must rule on site applications from wireless carriers within 90 days if it’s an addition to an existing site, or 150 days for new sites.
According to the FCC press release, “This action will assist in speeding the deployment of next generation wireless networks” by essentially forcing regional bureaucrats to move more quickly. Apparently the previous wording of “within a reasonable period of time” left too much leeway for local governments to define “reasonable” so the FCC is doing it for them. If they fail to respond within the new limits, the wireless carrier applying for site approval can take them to court.
The new ruling also said that it is illegal for a State or local government to deny an application just because service was already available from another provider. So your county commissioners can’t keep your 3G coverage map from turning blue by denying AT&T’s application because Verizon is already there.
The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry (CTIA) had called for these changes, and responded by saying, “the Commission provided much-needed certainty to the process.”