Senate Bill 911: Would Require Mandatory Collocation


U.S. Senate Bill 911, introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) would completely disrupt the process of rational tower siting for collocation purposes.   Section 528(a) of S. 911 says, in relevant part:



(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or any other provision of law, a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower.

(2) ELIGIBLE FACILITIES REQUEST.—For purposes this subsection, the term ‘‘eligible facilities request’’ means any request for modification of an existing wireless tower that involves—

(A) collocation of new transmission equipment;
(B) removal of transmission equipment;
(C) replacement of transmission equipment.

Simply put, if there’s a tower there now, and another carrier (or even the same carrier) wants to collocate, remove, or replace “transmission equipment” (whatever the industry wants that term to mean), then S.911 would require that “a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower.”

Would anyone like to tell how big a change is required before it becomes a ‘substantial change to the physical dimensions of the tower?

No, I didn’t think so, but I suspect the wireless industry would suggest that a 33% to 50% change would be less than substantial.

Like so much legislation pushed by the wireless industry, the (un)intended consequences to such broad language could result in collocations that result in currently camouflaged towers losing their camouflage.

Here’s a little photo simulation I created to show you what I’m talking about (warning: This is a LARGE file so give it sufficient time to load, especially if you’re on a slow connection):

S.911 Could Result in THIS!(This is a base photo of a wireless flagpole site.)

Do we really want to see wireless carriers have the federal right to do this because of mile-wide loopholes in the current language?  Nope.

S.911 cleared Committee last week, and is now on the floor of the Senate.


To find your Senator, CLICK HERE. (Opens a NEW window.)


San Mateo CA Grand Jury on Muni Cell Siting Policies

Last month, the Civil Grand Jury of the County of San Mateo, California released the results of its inquiry into municipal wireless siting matters.

The report, titled “Cell Towers: Public Opposition and Revenue Source” asked as its questions,

Do cities and the County of San Mateo (the County) have effective governing policies and/or ordinances for cell tower installations that provide the public with a clear  understanding of how applications are adjudicated? Are cell tower installations a source of revenue for cities and the County?

The recommendations of the Grand Jury are:

The 2011 San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury recommends to the County Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of all cities in San Mateo County the following:

1. Review and revise, if needed, the current fee structure to recoup staff costs for processing cell tower applications;

2. Negotiate lease agreements for future installations on public land that generate revenue or other tangible benefit to the  community;

3. Add cell tower maintenance and removal provisions if they are not already included in existing ordinances and lease agreements;

4. Require that all new lease agreements contain a provision requiring service providers to install newer technology as it becomes commercially available to reduce the footprint of cell towers; and

5. Develop a webpage within County and city websites which clearly posts local ordinances, policies and procedures as well as federal regulations related to cell tower installations.

The Grand Jury further recommends the City Councils of Daly City, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Portola Valley, and Woodside pursue new or amended leases for existing cell towers on public property that are not currently generating revenue or other community benefits.

To read the guts of the report, click here: 2011 San Mateo Civil Grand Jury Report on Municipal Wireless Siting Practices.



CPUC to Review AT&T&T Proposed Merger

The California Public Utilities Commission will launch an investigation into the pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

AT&T&T LogoThe Commission, which is now populated by a majority of members appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, will evaluate whether to propose conditions on the merger.  The Commission will be taking public testimony, and moving its review along a fast track which may result in a Commission action in October of this year.

Here are two links with additional information on the pending CPUC review:

The Los Angeles Times article:,0,2964962.story

The CPUC Press Release:




AGL Denver Conference

The AGL regional Conference in Denver was AGL Magazine Logosimply outstanding in content and value.

I’m not just saying that because I was a speaker.  Frankly, I attend a fair number of conferences where there’s little new for me to learn, but not so at this event.

AGL is known for its down-to-earth approach for useful written content in the magazine, and the conferences have proven to be of even greater value due to the frank viewpoints of the speakers and attendees.

If you have a chance to attend either (or both) of the upcoming AGL regional conferences in Illinois and Florida, don’t miss the opportunity.

Over the next week or so I’ll be posting a few of the most interesting nuggets of valuable information from Denver, similar to what I posted last Thursday.



AGL Denver Conference Update 8:50 AM MDT

Brian Allen, Business Development Manager – West, TowerCo says the average monthly revenue per cell site is about $52,000; Predicts that the number of tower sites will double over the next 9 years (to about 525,000), but growth could be substantially greater than that based on other published reports. Lots of outstanding industry stats. More during the day.

Jonathan Atkin, RBC Capital Markets gives he AT&T&T merger a 65% chance of gaining all required regulatory approvals.

Mobilitie’s Keith Plaglusch talking about that firm’s expansion into DAS (in building and outdoors).

More to follow.