The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled today that the Federal Communications Commission was within its rights to interpret legal terms in its Wireless Siting Order which adopts new environmental exemptions for DAS and small cells and gives a detailed interpretation of Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act that includes a new 60-day shot clock designed to streamline deployment of wireless broadband.
The court’s decision, which discussed base station sizes and interpretations, physical sizes and other matters that were contested in the FCC order can be found here.
Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, said his organization’s members were thrilled with the outcome of this case because it will promote the widespread deployment of mobile broadband throughout the country.
“The wireless infrastructure industry wants to reduce or eliminate, whenever possible, unreasonable obstacles to all communities tapping into the extraordinary economic and technological potential of wireless broadband,” Adelstein said.
The FCC’s implementation of the act had been challenged by various municipal authorities and counties, led by Montgomery County, Md. while wireless associations, including PCIA and CTIA had sided with the FCC.
The petitioners alleged that the FCC’s implementation order “conscripts the states in violation of the Tenth Amendment, and that the Order unreasonably defines several terms of the Spectrum Act.”
The appeals court found that the FCC was implementing the statute correctly and had the authority to interpret the statute as it did.
“We are pleased by the court’s decision. From Congress to the FCC to local governments, policymakers recognize the vital role that government can and should play in expediting the deployment of broadband networks,” said Scott Bergman, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs. CTIA – The Wireless Association.
“CTIA is proud to have partnered with municipal representatives to educate local jurisdictions about streamlined siting processes, and to have developed a model ordinance and checklist for use by local zoning authorities. Today’s decision will bring greater certainty and uniformity to broadband permitting decisions, bolstering the economic and social benefits that broadband brings to communities across the nation.”