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Tower Construction Notification System Enhanced, Rules Clarified

The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) has created a new electronic link that allows the public to view a listing of all Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) who have defined geographic preferences for receiving notifications of proposed tower construction through the Tower Construction Notification System (TCNS). It also lists Indian tribes in Alaska for which TCNS has been programmed to provide notification of proposed towers. The listing can be viewed by clicking the "View Tribe List" on the Tower Construction Notification System home page.

Under the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement that went into effect March 7, 2005, applicants for communications facilities subject to Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act of 1996 are required "to make reasonable and good faith efforts to identify, and to ensure, contact is made with, Indian tribes and NHOs that may attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties that may be affected by an undertaking."

In notifications sent to proposed tower constructors, WTB has reprogrammed TCNS to separately identify those Indian tribes and NHOs that have or have not specified geographic preferences in TCNS. FCC staff is working with Indian tribes and NHOs that have not set their geographic preferences to answer any questions and assist them in setting preferences.

In the Public Notice (DA 05-1013) announcing the enhancements, WTB clarified the procedures tower constructors must take if the Indian tribe or NHO does not respond within a reasonable time to a notification sent through TCNS. The Public Notice says the applicant "should make a reasonable effort at follow-up contact, unless the Indian tribe or NHO has agreed to different procedures." If there is no response to the follow-up inquiry or if a "substantive or procedural disagreement arises between the applicant and an Indian tribe or NHO," the Public Notice says the applicant must seek guidance from the Commission. For additional information on this, see the Public Notice (DA 05-1013).

An FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password are required to use TCNS. Tower notifiers or consultants must register with the FCC using CORES (COmission REgistration System). Indian tribes, NHOs, State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) have been provided with specially enabled FRNs and passwords that permit them, and only them, to view and revise their contact information and geographic preferences.

For more information on TCNS, see the Tower Construction Notification System home page.