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AB57: End of Local Cell Site Zoning in California?

AB 57, no longer called the “Broadband Communications Infrastructure Act”  has now morphed into the wireless industry’s dream: a deemed approved remedy for cell tower siting, and (vitally) a statewide policy shift that cell sites are NOT a municipal concern; rather they are matter best left for the state.

AB 57 has become an exercise in bait and switch: The pro-consumer first version of AB 57 (the bait) has morphed to be a huge gift to the wireless industry (the switch).

Here’s what the bill says now:

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

Section 65964.1 is added to the Government Code to read:

(a) A colocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility, as defined in Section 65850.6, shall be deemed approved if both of the following occur:

(1) The city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within the time periods established by the Federal Communications Commission in In re Petition for Declaratory Ruling, 24 FCC Rcd. 13994 (2009).

(2) All public notices regarding the application have been provided consistent with the public notice requirements for the
application.

(b) The Legislature finds and declares that a wireless telecommunications facility has a significant economic impact in California and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is a matter of statewide concern.

Assembly Member Bill Quirk, a Democrat from California’s 20th District, has created language that even the FCC was unwilling to do: AB 57 creates a ‘deemed approved’ remedy for shot clock issues related to new sites and collocations that are not covered by Section 6409(a).

Here’s the kicker: Assembly Member Bill Quirk’s legislation says that cell siting is NOT a local affair, but rather one of statewide interest. This would mark the start of state-wide preemption of cell tower siting if this legislation becomes law.

This is a massive gift bill to California’s wireless industry at the expense of Assembly Member Quirk’s constituents, and every resident in California.

Time to put the brakes on this ill-conceived legislation that has the wireless industry’s fingerprints all over it.

Why not call and ask Assembly Member Quirk why he’s favoring the wireless industry over his own constituents.

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AB 57: Now the Cell Tower Siting Fangs Are Out

AB 57, which should be called the “Cell Site Gift Act of 2015″ was amended yesterday in the Assembly to add real fangs intended to bite Californians in favor of the wireless industry.

The bill by Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D, 20th) now simply says the following:

(a) A colocation or siting application for a wireless
telecommunications facility, as defined in Section 65850.6, shall
be deemed approved if both of the following occur:

(1) The city or county fails to approve or disapprove the
application within the time periods established by the Federal
Communications Commission in In re Petition for Declaratory
Ruling, 24 FCC Rcd. 13994 (2009).

(2) All public notices regarding the application have been
provided consistent with the public notice requirements for the
application.

(b) The Legislature finds and declares that a wireless
telecommunications facility has a significant economic impact in
California and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in
Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is a
matter of statewide concern.

The Plain English translation of what Assembly Member Qurik now proposes on behalf of his wireless industry supporters is this:

Assembly Member Bill Quirk.   D., 20th Assembly District

Assembly Member Bill Quirk. D., 20th Assembly District

‘Any wireless siting application of any kind, if not either approved or disapproved by a city or county after public notice in the time limits set by the FCC, shall be DEEMED APPROVED.’

Essentially, Assembly Member Quirk extends the deemed approved remedy greatly benefiting his wireless industry supporters to every kind of wireless project in California, which goes far beyond what the FCC has done.

The timing of this bill is very interesting.  At the very moment that Assembly Member Quirk is trying to super-bootstrap a portion of the FCC rules to all wireless projects in California, those federal rules are under attack in a federal law suit filed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now is the time to start writing to your Assembly and Senate members to tell them that you don’t want the wireless industry to have super-rights not intended by either Congress or the FCC, and special state-level rights intended to make it almost impossible for the public to effectively argue against cell sites that detrimental to community aesthetics.

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Attack of the Drones

It’s unusual for me to republish press releases, but this one caught my eye. -jlk
ATLANTA, March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Solusia Air, LLC, an affiliate of Solusia Services, LLC, today announced it has been awarded an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to deploy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to perform asset audits and safety inspections for wireless and utility infrastructure firms. Solusia Air began the application process in 2014, working with JDA Aviation Technology Solutions.

The UAS included in the exemption is the Aibot X6 UAS by Leica Geosystems. The FAA approval agrees that the combination of the Aibotix X6 Aircraft and Solusia Air’s training and flight safety procedures constitute a minimal risk and are in the interest of the public good.

“The FAA exemption means wireless and utility companies now have a more efficient, safer method for performing audits and safety inspections of infrastructure assets,” said Chris Moccia, CEO, Solusia Air. “Leica is a proven global leader in optics, lasers, GIS software, modeling and 3D spatial solutions and we are thrilled to be partnered with them in this innovative endeavor.”

aibot-uas-hexacopter-enUnder the FAA’s current interim policy, UAS operators who adhere to certain parameters are permitted to fly UAS commercially under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act until such time as the FAA fully implements the UAS regulatory structure.

“This is exciting news for Solusia Air and Leica Geosystems,” said Bryan Baker, North American UAS Sales Manager and pilot for Leica Geosystems Inc. “The FAA is under a lot of pressure to streamline the approval process and finalize the regulatory structure for unmanned aircraft systems. This is the first step to getting companies through the process faster so that they can take advantage of this revolutionary technology.”

Solusia Air UAS services for wireless carriers and tower operators include high-definition photo and video inspection, asset audits, RF microwave path validation, intermodulation/interference identification, wildlife species identification, and safety assessments.

Utility companies can benefit from UAS inspections by obtaining high-definition photo and video data for inspection of substation infrastructure, IR inspections, 3D imaging and point cloud/photogrammetry of utility towers and transmission lines, and wind turbine inspections.

“Wireless infrastructure is in a continuous, dynamic lifecycle,” continued Moccia. “As new technologies are deployed to keep up with the growing demand for mobile data and high-speed connections, towers need to be audited to document and verify existing configurations and equipment inventories. With UAS solutions, this auditing process can now include timely online retrieval of data and images that customers need to make strategic planning, construction and maintenance decisions.”

About Solusia Air
Solusia Air, LLC is a professional services firm that utilizes UAS technologies to provide asset audits and safety inspections for wireless carriers, tower owners and utilities. Our services help reduce costs and save lives by reducing and even eliminating physical climbs, delivering a much safer, data-rich alternative that accurately captures HD photographic and video data of equipment and infrastructure. Our UAS are powered by proprietary, engineered technologies and processes that give customers innovative insights, advanced views of assets, and engineered technical analysis never before delivered or measured. The company is FAA compliant, fully insured, and meets all legal requirements to conduct commercial operations using UAS in the United States. To learn more, visit www.solusiaair.com.

SOURCE Solusia Air, LLC

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Rick Ellrod’s Good Idea

Rick Ellrod, the Director of the Communications Policy and Regulatory Division of the Department of Cbale and Consumer Affairs for Fairfax County, Virginia had a good idea regarding the electricity generating tree (read more HERE). Add some tiny illuminations to light of the tree at night.

Here’s my take on Rick’s idea:

newwind.fr.tree

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A Power-Generating Faux Tree

For my friends in local government service, this should be on your radar. It’s on mine.

I find this design to be aesthetically compelling in an urban landscape.

For more see: www.newwind.fr (In French only, at least for now.)

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AB57 Amended: First Baby Tooth Added

As I predicted in yesterday’s post, AB 57 was, in fact, amended to start adding teeth. The first tooth is a innocuous…adding a representative of the League of California Cities and a representative of the California State Association of Counties to the board of the California Broadband Council.

But in the best hide-the-ball tradition, the . . . → Read More: AB57 Amended: First Baby Tooth Added

AB57 Comes Alive – Local Wireless Siting Controls In California May be in Jeopardy

Bill Quirk’s, the California Assembly Member serving the 20th District has had a mysterious bill, AB 57, in the hopper since December 2, 2014. It appears that AB57 is the newest push by the wireless industry to move towards some level of wireless site deregulate regarding the location and installation of cell towers and cell . . . → Read More: AB57 Comes Alive – Local Wireless Siting Controls In California May be in Jeopardy

47 U.S.C. § 555a(a) Bars Fees Award Against City in California

From the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 5 regarding litigation by Charter Cable (Marcus Cable Associates) v. the City of Glendale, California:

As explained [in the decision], pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.420 (section 2033.420), under certain circumstances, a party to a civil action that denies a pretrial request for . . . → Read More: 47 U.S.C. § 555a(a) Bars Fees Award Against City in California

HostedNumbers is Our Remote Telephone Number Provider

This is a bit off of my usual topics, but I think this is something that is likely to be of interest to many of you.

HostedNumbers is the telephone service provider we use to secure local telephone numbers in various area codes where we want a virtual local presence. This allows callers in those . . . → Read More: HostedNumbers is Our Remote Telephone Number Provider

6409(a): Montgomery County v. FCC

The first lawsuit against the FCC challenging the constitutionality of Section 6409(a) has been filed in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Montgomery County is suing the FCC.

Let the litigation begin. You can right click on the link below to download the entire compliant, but you can pretty much stop reading after the second . . . → Read More: 6409(a): Montgomery County v. FCC

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