FCC Offers “Guidance” on Sec. 6409(a)


As an aside, I note that the Commission did not consult with its own Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, much less advise them of the release of this Guidance in advance.

The Commission crafted its Section 6409(a) Guidance to provide the public its own view of how state and local governments should interpret the following self-created questions:

  1. What does it mean to “substantially change the physical dimensions” of a tower or base station?
  2. What is a “wireless tower or base station”?
  3. May a state or local government require an application for an action covered under Section 6409(a)?
  4. Is there a time limit within which an application must be approved?

I’ll let you read the Guidance for yourself (see link below)  to learn the Commission’s thoughts in response to its four questions.  I’m not going to get into my specific thoughts about the Guidance other than to say that it is flawed and overreaching in most areas covered.  The only bright light is that the Commission did recognize that carriers are not exempt or excused from following the state or local government application process  for collocations covered by Section 6409(a).

Importantly, however, there is about a 103% certainty that wireless carrier representatives will show up to local governments toting a copy of the Guidance misrepresenting it as the way that 6409(a) must be read and understood by those governments. That will be factually incorrect, but its tough for planners at “the counter” to critically evaluate a document bearing the FCC seal.  That critical evaluation and the inevitable challenges to the Guidance will be a job for attorneys and stakeholder organizations like NATOA.

At the end, the Commission’s Guidance is advisory only.  Given the fundamental omissions and differences in Section 6409(a) (some of which are acknowledged by the Commission), Section 6409(a) remains a moving target, as does compliance with that moving target.

Click here to read the FCC’s Guidance on 6409(a)


DAS All Folks!

Published in today’s AGL DAS Bulletin: “Predictions 2012: DAS All Folks!”  by yours truly.

If you’re in cable TV industry, the wireless industry, or the DAS industry, you may be surprised by my predictions about the intersection of cable TV and wireless services, and the potential impact on DAS.  You may even agree!



lightRadio? Really?!

Bell Labs has unveiled its lightRadio cell site in a cube system.  It’s received a lot of press from around the world over the past few weeks about it being ‘THE NEXT BIG THINK TO KILL OFF TRADITIONAL CELL SITES.’

Well,  maybe not.

Digging a bit deeper into the apparent technology underpinning the system produces some interesting things to ponder.   To set the stage for what I think this lightRadio thing is all about, and how it fits into the grand scheme, first watch the video below of Tod Sizer, the head of the wireless group at Bell Labs, as he talks about developing the lightRadio antenna module. Then look at the chart below the video. When you’ve done that, then I’ll ‘resume’ this conversation.











As they say on TV, “Okay, we’re back…”

So what’s Mr. Sizer’s video tell us, and what does the chart mean?

Let’s start with Mr. Sizer’s video…  He talks about how the cubes can be stacked to provide directional signal control, similar to a macrocell site.  What’s not too clear is that each cube requires a backhaul connection using Internet Protocol (IP) back to…somewhere.  See the chart just above.

The deployment scheme is not too clear, but it sure looks like it has elements of DAS within it, or at least it seems closer to a DAS than it is to a self-contained macrocell or even a microcell.

Attention NextG, competition cleanup on aisle 5…

Given NextG’s history of suing where they believe someone is infringing on any shred of their DAS patents for network technology and deployment, I’ll just wait to see if they also think along the same lines I do regarding the possibility that the cube is really a micro DAS implementation.

This should be interesting, but it doesn’t appear to be the game-changer that the manufacturer would have us believe.

With apologies to Mr. Clemens, ‘Reports of macrocells’ deaths are greatly exaggerated.’



‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down this NextG pole!’

On January 10, Lori and Michael DiMarco of the Long Island Town of Brookhaven, New York found that they had a new neighbor in front of their home; a 40 foot tall black wireless antenna pole.

Who would perpetrate such a dastardly deed?  Who’s construction crew allegedly lied to the homeowner about what was being installed, and who authorized it?

According to published reports, NextG Networks (a distributed antenna system provider based here in California) admitted it erected the pole without a town permit on Jan. 10.

WBST TV reports that “[i]n a statement, NextG admitted they installed the tower without the proper permits, saying in effect that the town was taking too long to review their application.”

In the same report, WBST noted that “[a]fter the DiMarco’s complained about this cell tower on their front lawn, the town found out that 9 others had also popped up in the area, literally over night.”

What kind of fertilizer is NextG using to make these poles grow so quickly?  Hubris, perhaps?

WCBS Radio has a blog page and audio on this story, as well as a photograph by Mrs. DiMarco of the pole.

The North Shore Sun has its own story and photo regarding this usually ‘in-your-face’ event.

Here’s a link to a WCBS TV page about this event. The video, below, is from the WCBS page. (Sorry, but you’ll just have to watch the commercial before viewing the report.)

What I’d like to know is who is NextG’s customer (or customers) that prompted the installation of the DAS poles.


Current Issues in Cell Tower Leases

March 3, 2011: 2 hour live teleconference
1 pm ET (12 pm CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)

Teleconference Highlights:

The wireless industry has built more than 250,000 cell sites in the United States in the past 20 years. But many more cell sites are needed as iPhones, iPads and the like strain existing network capacity with data, email, computer and video applications, as well as to fill gaps in coverage. New cell sites and significant modifications to existing cell sites will also be needed due to the FCC’s new advanced wireless services and goal of using wireless to increase broadband speeds and coverage.

This audio conference will help level the playing field by providing private and municipal property owners with the expertise of two faculty members highly experienced in cell tower and cell site leases – property owners usually are negotiating such leases for the first time, while the cell companies have teams who work exclusively on such leases.

This audio conference will focus on key business issues in wireless site leases, including lease rates, who gets the revenues from additional antennas or carriers being co-located at a site, potential underpayments by cell companies on existing sites and why rent reduction requests generally should be denied. An emphasis on the industry-specific elements and terms of modern cell site leases, and renewals and modifications of expiring leases, which are important for the property owner, their attorney and the leasing agent involved in these efforts. You will be better able to identify and resolve issues that are unique to wireless siting, including what may be included in a lease that cannot be included in a government-issued permit, site location and value, lease term and terminations, access requirements, interference regulation and mitigation, design and camouflage, and radio frequency emissions issues.

Learning Objectives

  • You will be able to maintain and increase the revenues the property owner receives, and discuss the common elements of private wireless site leases on developed and undeveloped land.
  • You will be able to utilize practice pointers, including key concepts, for owners of private property and their attorneys, as well as municipalities and municipal attorneys.
  • You will be able to understand the basics of wireless technology and the real property, technical and technology issues that drive a wireless carrier’s siting and leasing process.
  • You will be able to review insurance and indemnity provisions to protect the property owner.

Faculty Information

John W. Pestle, Esq., Varnum LLP
Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq., FSCTE, BTS, BDS, BPS, Kramer Telecom Law Firm, P.C.

MCLE/Educational Credit Information

  • AIA
  • AICP (Pending)
  • CC
  • CLE
  • ENG
  • PMI

Who Should Attend?

This audio conference is designed for attorneys, planners, directors of development, project managers, government administrators, council and board members, land use officials, public works and utilities directors, municipal government officials, engineers, architects, surveyors and real estate professionals.

5 Easy Ways to Register:
Online: www.lorman.com
Phone: 1-866-352-9539
E-mail: customerservice@lorman.com
Fax: 1-715-833-3953
Mail: Lorman Education Services, Dept 5382, PO Box 2933, Milwaukee, WI 53201-2933
Seminar ID: 387436

NextG Networks Sues Huntington Beach, California

NextG Networks of California, Inc, a provider of Distributed Antenna Site (DAS) wireless sites has sued the City of Huntington Beach. The suit, filed on December 27, 2007 in the Central District of California (Santa Ana district) bears case number SACV07-1471. The hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2008.

If you don’t have access to Pacer and would like a copy of the complaint, minus exhibits, please contact me using this form: