In order to meet the demands for wireless services and prepare national infrastructure for new technologies, the FCC last year argued that it needed to eliminate regulatory impediments that cause unnecessary delays and costs. The FCC did so by adopting new regulations on Sept. 26, 2018.

The new regulations sharply limit the types and amounts of fees cities and states may charge for the use of public property, set deadlines as short as 60 days for municipalities to conduct all necessary inspections and to authorize proposals, and drastically limit non-fee requirements, such as aesthetic standards, that municipalities may institute.

Nearly 100 cities, towns, counties, utility companies, and local government associations have joined in suing the FCC over the new regulations (WT Docket No. 17-79 and WC Docket No. 17-84), which began taking effect on Jan. 14. (Localities have until April 15 to finalize aesthetic standards.)

On the day the regulations took effect, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo of California introduced legislation that would overturn them. As of Feb. 20, the bill (H.R. 530) had eight co-sponsors, including Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts.

When the FCC proposed the new regulations, the MMA submitted a letter to the FCC stating that the regulations would strip municipal powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents, and would limit the ability of municipalities to negotiate fair deals with wireless providers. The MMA acknowledged the need for efficient, safe and appropriate deployment of new broadband technology, but argued that one-size-fits all regulation is not the best approach.

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors provides a written guide on the FCC regulations on its website.

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