NAB Supports PCIA Petition for Tower Rules Update

The National Association of Broadcasters offered its support to a Petition for Rulemaking submitted by PCIA, the Wireless Infrastructure Association in comments filed last week. The PCIA Petition proposes modernizing and clarifying FCC Part 17 rules governing the construction and maintenance of antenna structures to reconcile the rules with current Federal Aviation Administration standards and to take advantage of new technologies.

NAB's position was that since the last substantive revision of the rules in 1995, lighting and monitoring technologies have seen substantial improvement, which enables the automatic, continuous and near real-time monitoring of tower lighting, and in doing so, has eliminated the need for costly tower facility physical inspections.

NAB said the FCC should consider "allowing entities using automated technologies to monitor tower lighting in a near real-time manner to be exempt from Section 17.47(b)'s requirement to conduct quarterly physical inspections of such equipment. Automatic, continuous monitoring technology is safer and more effective than manual inspections that occur once every three months," and said an exemption for all antenna structure owners with automated monitoring technology in place "may encourage more owners to install such equipment, which will in turn increase the general level of tower safety."

NAB also said the FCC might wish to update its paperwork regulations, noting that online registrations systems eliminate the need for paper forms.