Wireless Permitting

California Wireless Permitting Policy

California has a “deemed approved” law – assembly bill 57 – that sets 90 and 150 day shot clocks for wireless facility permit processing. However, there are circumstances where a federal 60 day applies. How the FCC’s 2018 wireless deployment ruling will change this interaction is still to be determined.

Tellus Venture Associates white paper: California Wireless Site Permitting

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16 Oct 2017

Assembly bill 57

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9 Oct 2015

Federal Communications Commission 2018 Wireless Deployment Rulings

The FCC adopted a declaratory ruling in September 2018 that preempted local ownership and control of assets located in the right of way and owned by public agencies. It also set strict parameters for small wireless facility permit processing by state and local governments, including shorter “shot clocks” and limits on fees. It took effect on 15 January 2019. The FCC also issued related rulings in March and August 2018.

FCC declaratory ruling, and third report and order, in the matter of Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment

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26 Sep 2018

FCC order denying motion for stay of wireless ruling

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10 Dec 2018

FCC third report and order and declaratory ruling, in the matter of Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment

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2 Aug 2018

FCC second report and order, in the matter of Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment

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30 Mar 2018

Federal Appellate Court Cases

Key documents are below, all collected documents are here.

Court decisions

Opinion overturning, in part, FCC’s March 2018 second report and order, D.C. Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals

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9 Aug 2019

Order denying stay of FCC “September Order”, Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals

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11 Jan 2019

Order transferring appeals of FCC “September Order” to Ninth Circuit, by Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals

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10 Jan 2019

“Preliminary order regarding the consolidation” of the various cases, Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals

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5 Nov 2018

FCC answering brief filed with the Ninth Circuit

As shown above, there are two FCC right of way orders being challenged, one regarding (mostly) wireline infrastructure issued in August 2018, and one regarding wireless infrastructure, issued in September 2018. Most of the appeals of both orders were bundled together into a single case, but for legal reasons the FCC filed two virtually identical reply briefs. Both are below. The only difference I’ve found is in the header text. The federal justice department joined in the FCC’s appeal – the federal government is also a defendant – so technically the briefs are a joint response.

FCC answering brief, September 2018 wireless order

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8 Aug 2019

FCC answering brief, August 2018 wireline order

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8 Aug 2019

FCC excerpts of record, volume 1

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8 Aug 2019

FCC excerpts of record, volume 2

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8 Aug 2019

FCC excerpts of record, volume 3

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8 Aug 2019

FCC motion to exceed limit on length of brief

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8 Aug 2019

Opening briefs filed with the Ninth Circuit

Joint Local Governments

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10 Jun 2019

American Public Power Association

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10 Jun 2019

Montgomery County, Maryland

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10 Jun 2019

Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and Puerto Rico Telephone Company

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10 Jun 2019

Motion by San Jose et al to stay FCC order pending appeals

San Jose et al, motion for stay of FCC “September Order”

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17 Dec 2018

U.S. justice department, letter taking no position on stay of “September Order”

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31 Dec 2018

CTIA et al, opposition to stay of “September Order”

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1 Jan 2019

FCC, opposition to stay of “September Order”

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2 Jan 2019

San Jose et al, reply to oppositions to stay

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8 Jan 2019

Verizon threats, based on FCC order, and response

City of North Little Rock, et al motion for stay of FCC order

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14 Dec 2018

Verizon letter to City of North Little Rock, threatening FCC preemption

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5 Dec 2018

City of North Little Rock, Small Wireless Communication Facility Regulation

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23 Jul 2018

Motion to move case to ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco

City of San Jose, et al, motion to transfer cases to ninth circuit, 29 November 2018

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29 Nov 2018

City of Portland’s petition for review of FCC wireline order, 2 October 2018 (basis for San Jose’s motion)

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2 Oct 2018

City of Seattle, et al position statement

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17 Dec 2018

FCC response

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17 Dec 2018

Mobile carriers and lobbyists’s response

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17 Dec 2018

San Jose, et al, reply to FCC and industry response

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24 Dec 2018

Initial argument summaries, aka docketing statements

San Jose, et al

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15 Nov 2018

Seattle, et al

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21 Nov 2018

Huntington Beach

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21 Nov 2018

Puerto Rico Telephone Company

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12 Nov 2018

Sprint

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7 Nov 2018

Verizon

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14 Nov 2018

Petitions filed with federal appellate courts to block ruling

City of San Jose (lead), County of Los Angeles and 18 other cities in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington

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24 Oct 2018

Leagues of Cities (Arizona, California, Oregon), City of Seattle (lead), City of Tacoma, King County, Washington

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24 Oct 2018

City of Huntington Beach, California

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24 Oct 2018

American Public Power Association

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15 Nov 2018

Montgomery County, Maryland

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5 Dec 2018

City of Austin, et al

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11 Dec 2018

City of Eugene, et al

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12 Dec 2018

City of North Little Rock, Arkansas et al

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13 Dec 2018

San Francisco

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14 Dec 2018

Petitions filed with federal appellate courts to expand ruling – wireless carriers are also challenging it, asking the court to add automatic “deemed granted” privileges when shot clocks expire.

AT&T

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25 Oct 2018

Puerto Rico Telephone Company

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25 Oct 2018

Sprint

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25 Oct 2018

Verizon

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25 Oct 2018

Other Documents

Statements by FCC commissioners

Ajit Pai

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26 Sep 2018

Jessica Rosenworcel

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26 Sep 2018

Brendan Carr

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26 Sep 2018

Michael O’Rielly

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26 Sep 2018

Speech by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr at Mobile World Congress Americas

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13 Sep 2018

Sample of comment letters sent to FCC

Joint letter by local government associations

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19 Sep 2018

City and County of San Francisco

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19 Sep 2018

CTIA, aka Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association

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20 Sep 2018

Smart Communities Siting Coalition

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8 Mar 2017

Miscellaneous

Version of the FCC’s declaratory ruling published in the Federal Register

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15 Oct 2018

Pre-vote draft of FCC’s declaratory ruling

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5 Sep 2018