Antenna Structure Registration Compromised Reached

Interim Tower Rules Proposed to FCC...

WASHINGTON: A consortium of industry and conservation groups have proposed a temporary standard for communications towers while the FCC hashes out the final version.

The federal appeals court in Washington ordered the commission two years ago to change its Antenna Structure Registration program, and to provide public notice before granting tower applications. At the FCC’s urging, negotiations were held among the National Association of Broadcasters, tower lobbies and conservation groups, to develop interim standards for ASR. The parties reached a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the FCC’s tower registration program.

Participants in addition to the NAB included the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, the American Bird Conservancy CTIA-The Wireless Association, PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association and the National Association of Tower Erectors.

The conservation groups wanted the FCC to adopt an aggressive set of policies and procedures, including environment assessments for all towers. NAB said those proposals would have slowed tower approval grants from overnight to more than a year. In addition, many of their suggestions would have impeded the approval of taller towers, according to the broadcast group.

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 use a preferred lighting scheme for changes to existing towers that might minimize potential adverse consequences.

NAB says it is optimistic that the commission will endorse the agreement, and says it protects a significant percentage of broadcast towers from having to submit to an environmental assessment at the time of application/public notice.

Additionally, replacement towers would be excluded from the assessment process. Finally, while some towers would be placed on public notice (per court order), others, such as shorter towers, replacement towers or repaired towers, could be exempt from the process.

The coalition delivered its memorandum to the FCC last week.-- from Radio World