On January 10, 2018, the  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requested comments on a proposed regulation to exempt qualifying collocations on towers constructed between 2001 and 2005 (aka Twilight Towers), which were either not reviewed under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) or do not have documentation of such a review.  This exemption targets the thousands of towers built between the issuance of the 2001 Collocation Nationwide Programmatic Agreement (NPA) and the 2005 Wireless Facilities NPA which established the FCC’s historic review procedures for new towers.  This regulation would provide explicit criteria to collocate on Twilight Towers that streamlines the deployment process and avoids the lengthy post-construction reviews that have delayed collocations on these towers for the past 12 years.

With this proposed exemption, the FCC seeks to apply similar criteria to these Twilight Towers as contained in the 2001 Collocation NPA.  Twilight Towers would be generally excluded from further historic review if the collocation activity doesn’t increase the size of the tower by more than 10%, involve installation of more than four equipment cabinets, add appurtenances that protrude from the tower by more than 20 feet or include excavation outside the current tower site (Section IV of the proposed regulation).  If these regulations are approved, it would represent a substantive step towards the FCC’s stated goal of promoting the deployment of wireless infrastructure.

The comment period expires on February 8, 2018.  If you would like to share comments on the proposed collocation exemption, you can do so online through the Federal Register Website.  If you would like help developing comments for submittal or would like more information about this topic, contact us.

Josiah Frey is an Environmental Scientist at Smith Management Group.  Josiah can be reached at josiahf@smithmanage.com.