Agreement reached on communications tower standards for protecting birds

Communications industry and conservation organizations have collaborated in drafting recommendations designed to facilitate FCC efforts to protect migratory birds while enhancing the communications tower infrastructure.

The recommendations submitted to the FCC last week were the result of more than six months of negotiation between the Infrastructure Coalition (comprised of CTIA-The Wireless Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Tower Erectors and PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association) and the Conservation Group (comprised of the American Bird Conservancy, the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society).

The agreement calls for the development of interim standards for the Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) program, through which the FCC registers towers that support broadband, wireless and broadcast systems, including wireless voice and Internet services.

The agreement covers towers for which an ASR is required to be filed, depending upon the height of the proposed tower or the specifications of a replacement tower. In addition, it calls on the FCC to adopt and utilize a preferred lighting scheme for changes to existing towers that might minimize potential adverse consequences.

“If the FCC adopts an interim standard based on our agreement, it will help guide the communications industry in building and lighting their towers in ways science has shown will minimize unnecessary bird deaths, and ensure the next generation of Americans will have a chance to enjoy the same songbirds we see and hear today,” said Darin Schroeder, vice president of Conservation Advocacy at American Bird Conservancy.