Which Way L.A. Explores Cell Tower Siting Issues

whichwaylaWarren Olney, host of Which Way L.A. on KCRW (NPR in Southern California) devoted a segment of today’s program to wireless tower siting.

Titled, “The No Longer Hidden Cost of Wireless Technology” Warren focus on the looming debate about more cell sites closer to their customers.

Richard Stein, a Los Angeles resident with an existing AT&T wireless site on a utility pole in front of his home was interviewed about AT&T’s plans to quadruple the size of the antennas, and to place a controlled environment vault (“CEV”) in the right-of-way near the pole.

AT&T declined to be interviewed for the show regarding its cell site in front of Mr. Stein’s home.

Warren spoke with me about technology and legal issues related to wireless siting, and also about the pending FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could reshape the entire landscape regarding cell siting regulations in the U.S. We also covered Section 6409(a).

Robert Jystad, the incoming president of the California Wireless Association spoke on why carriers need to bring their services closer to homes and end-users. He gave the facts and figures about the wireless society. He also alluded to, but did not outright say that Mr. Stein’s opposition to AT&T’s plan was for a reason other than aesthetics, which Mr. Stein rejected. As a side note, you might be surprised to learn that I was the one that recommended to the show’s producer, Evan George that Mr. Jystad be interviewed for the segment. It seemed important to make sure an industry voice had the opportunity to weigh in to the discussion.

The 16 minute segment is now on line. You may listen to the audio segment via the show page: http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/ww/ww131029the_no_longer_hidden

This was a fun experience, and one that I hope will not be my last.





PCIA says Sec. 6409 worth “hundreds of millions of dollars”

Let me start by saying that I personally like and respect Mike Fitch, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association.  I’ve had the pleasure of sitting next to him several times on panels at wireless and government conferences. Mike is a smart guy, well spoken, and well spoken of.

You know, however, that with a preface like that I’m leading to something…

I’m disappointed that in announcing the passage of Section 6409 to the various state wireless associations, Mike said in part in his memo:

Significant victory for the industry

This legislation is an important win for our industry. It will save hundreds of millions of dollars as the industry deploys new technologies without wasteful review of existing wireless infrastructure sites. This will enable better network planning and build-out on existing and new sites. It will produce more capital investment and job growth to keep up with the dramatic increase in wireless use.

(Emphasis added.)

Wasteful review of existing wireless sites?

I suspect that significant segments of the public and state and local governments don’t agree that their reviews of wireless site collocation applications is “wasteful.”  Rather, it’s far more likely that the public and governments would says that the review is necessary to promote community aesthetics, and to deter the expansion of legal non-conforming uses.

It’s interesting that in Mike’s public press release posted to the PCIA website, he omitted the “wasteful” reference, when he said:

This legislation is a significant victory for our industry and for all consumers, businesses and public safety agencies that rely on wireless connectivity. . . It is a common sense measure that will significantly reduce regulatory burdens on infrastructure deployment—saving the industry hundreds of millions of dollars over many years. The ultimate beneficiaries are the nation’s wireless users, who will gain access to better, faster and more ubiquitous service as a result of the accelerated pace of deployment.

It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.  What is wasteful to one is protective to another.  For now, however, the industry has scored a major victory.

Local governments are already talking about how to work with and around the worst parts of Section 6409, and how to track the results of those 145 words.


New CALWA Video: “You Can’t Have One Without The Other”

Calwa VideoApril 8, 2010: The California Wireless Association (CALWA) has released a new video entitled, “You Can’t Have One Without The Other.” The video is a professionally produced 30 second spot, and very factual. To watch the video posted on YouTube, click on the image.

There’s no doubt that the Government’s YouTube response video–yet to be produced–will be titled with a famous lyric ending with “You get what you need.”  Thanks, Mick!


California Wireless Association News

CalWa, the California Wireless Association, has just released their end-of-year calwannewsnewsletter.  This is always an interesting read because it provides a good insight into California-based views of regulation, deployment and the like.

The current issue features stories on teh FCC Shot Clock; the Sprint v. Palos Verdes Estates case; the good public service work done by the Association; and the usual assortment of events and membership information found in these types of newsletters.

I read this newsletter to keep informed about how the industry as a while is thinking about California-specific issues.  You should read this newsletter, which you can by clicking on the icon to the left.