Congressional House Committee Investigates FCC for Collusion in re 5G Small Cell Tower Legislation Which Eliminated Local Control Over Installation

It’s about time, even though I am not holding my breath, especially with Ironic Johnny Thune-Bag’s chairmanship;

House committee investigates FCC over 5G infrastructure order

The House Energy and Commerce committee has asked the Federal Communications Commission to produce communications records between FCC employees and network operators related to the commission’s recent order preempting local control and pricing of infrastructure access, alleging that FCC representatives may have acted improperly in support of an initiative that is likely to save operators billions in 5G deployment costs.

“It has come to our attention that certain individuals at the FCC may have urged companies to challenge the order the commission adopted in order to game the judicial lottery procedure and intimated the agency would look unfavorably toward entities that were not helpful,” wrote committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-New Jersey) and Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania), chairman of the subcommittee on communications and technology, in aletter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “If true, it would be inappropriate for the FCC to leverage its power as a regulator to influence regulated companies to further its agenda in seeking a more friendly court.”

Interesting some of the crap that was going on (that we have been pointing out);

The FCC order focused on easing deployment of 5G infrastructure. The primary tenets of the FCC’s order included:

  • Banning local regulations designed to prohibit wireless infrastructure deployment;
  • Standardizing the fee structure cities can charge for reviewing small cell projects;
  • Establishing a 60-day shot clock for attaching small cells to existing structures and 90 days for new builds;
  • And setting “modest guardrails on other municipal rules that may prohibit service.”

Well, Well, Well, seems that cool Million Thune-Bag got from the Telecoms paid off for them in billions. I wonder if our local media will pick up on this story. Oh that’s right, they are busy telling people it is cold out and you should wear a coat and hat.


#1 Wirelessly Irradiated on 01.30.19 at 10:25 pm

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who worked for the Telecom Industry for a decade before becoming FCC Chair: “We won’t wait for the (health & safety) standards” re deploying 5G infrastructure – the WTF poles.

#2 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.30.19 at 10:36 pm

Don’t you love it, when conservatives believe in federalism?

#3 Wirelessly Irradiated on 01.30.19 at 10:40 pm

I seem to remember Commissioner Carr telling us at a Thune field hearing in Oct. 2018 that 5G is safe & the FCC keeps up the the health & safety issues re 5G:

#4 Wirelessly Irradiated on 01.31.19 at 10:21 am

Who is in on this con at the local level? All the City Council? All the Minnehaha & Lincoln County Commissioners?

And yet Thune, Paulie & B. Carr feign health concerns then write it off as a nothing:

#5 D@ily Spin on 01.31.19 at 10:45 am

The litigation should stall 5G. Carriers must pony up more payoffs. Money they could have spent launching properly and legally.

#6 Bruce on 01.31.19 at 9:21 pm

I think there are two distinct controversies regarding the FCC’s most recent pole attachment order.

The first controversy is debating whether or not organizations asserting the right of eminent domain and condemnation acquire an obligation to act in the public interest.

The second controversy debates whether 5G can be delayed by investigating and litigating the decision by the FCC to force entities with eminent domain powers to actually act in the public interest with regards to telecommunications antennas.

I will limit my comments here to the pole attachment controversy and assume arguendo that 5G justification issues will be resolved elsewhere.

It is long established legal precedence that governmental subdivisions and commercial companies asserting eminent domain have surrendered their rights to contest the question of whether they have to share the rights obtained by eminent domain. The FCC resolved the question of whether poles are a quasi-public asset back when cable companies and competition to the Bells was first allowed and the initial rounds of pole attachment rates were set pursuant to an act of Congress 47 USC 224 (1978). The concept of charges and methodology for “pole attachments” has been thoroughly litigated. Utilities don’t like pole attachments because the amounts they are able to charge for the attachment($10 or so/pole/year) lowers their expenses and the amount they can load into their rate base, add 10% to and then bill out. In other words, sharing poles with cable companies, phone companies and other users reduces the amount utility companies can bill consumers and utilities don’t like it. Every dollar of pole attachment revenue costs them $0.10 in profit and saves consumers $0.10. Governmental subdivisions don’t like pole attachments because they are engaged in self interested monopolistic practices to force companies to use their water towers or pay homage to the local political machine to get a tower built. Furthermore, governmental subdivisions love telecom taxes and they want no part in helping the telecoms reduce their costs and the subsequent reduction in telecom tax. Telecom tax rates already exceed the rates on almost every other commodity and governments are experiencing political push back when they try raising tax rates further on a service almost as necessary to modern life as food and shelter.

The companies and governmental subdivisions brought this latest pole attachment order on themselves. They repeated the self interested behaviors gouging that led to the 1978 legislation. One of the biggest problems with expanding wireless service is the cost structure for placing antennas. There are numerous municipalities wanting more than $4,000 year to hang a one foot antenna on a water tower after the tenant has paid/reimbursed ridiculously high permitting and install costs to the municipality. Many small towns don’t have a cellular service because of the attitude that municipalities should be able to charge whatever they or their friends want. Utilities and governmental subdivisions knew what the bargain was when they flexed their eminent domain powers and trampled on other people’s property rights. Now they are whining when the bargain comes due.

There also should be no sympathy for the governmental subdivisions moaning about the limits on permitting fees and other restrictions. The reasons why the loaded cost of anything a municipality does is high, becomes clear when you go to a few public meetings. Taxpayers should question the number of employees Sioux Falls sent to the 5G FCC hearings in Sioux Falls. There were a large number of employees who had, at best, an exceptionally weak reason to be at a 5G meeting. So not only are City managers paid higher than their commercial counterparts but they have no meaningful productivity requirements leaving them free to do what they want all day. Presumably the City is hoping to load all that featherbedding into a future permitting fee increase. If the cities could actually explain the work tasks and necessary costs which made their permitting so expensive, they would get more sympathy at the FCC. I suspect there would be a number of companies who would happily perform the legitimate work required to permit for the fees the FCC allowed.

It is unclear how the FCC pole attachment policy is bad for the environment, or for consumers or for the public in general. Requiring multiple poles when one will suffice only helps the bad actors who don’t want to live up to their bargain with the public. I believe the only thing the FCC should be criticized for is the amount of time it took the FCC to get around to forcing the utilities and governments to stand by their pledge to act in the public interest.

#7 Bruce on 01.31.19 at 9:34 pm

The FCC does not have authority to set the emissions standards for RF devices. They are an agency consisting mostly of lawyers and a very few engineers. They have no staff trained to determine what levels are safe. The last I was aware the FDA was the lead agency for setting acceptable emissions standards.

#8 Wirelessly Irradiated on 01.31.19 at 9:35 pm

How can the City of Sioux Falls continue with it’s 5G agreement given the above information?

At the very least they should invoke a moratorium on proceeding until this is cleared up. They have every right to do so & stop the 60 or 90 day “shot clock” (which is a pile of poop in the first place).

The taxpayers are getting taken by the restrictive fee limits the FCC “suggested,” while being unwittingly used in an unethical human experiment.

#9 Wirelessly Irradiated on 02.01.19 at 6:51 pm

The FCC sets the guidelines on all wireless devices per Bruce’s reference.

In fact the following article states regarding wireless radiation that, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not do the research necessary to define a safe level that the public can be exposed to without harmful effects.”

Furthermore it says: “In the United States, the last review for radio frequency limits was in 1996, and the reality is that these are limits are based on research from the 1980s.” …”Many scientists and major medical organizations have written about the inadequacy of these outdated guidelines.”

For the sake of our health & safety, I encourage everyone to read through this information article, especially from item 10 to the end.

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