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Congress Limits Municipal Authority To Deny Modification of Telecommunications Facilities

Last week President Obama signed the ”Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012” which included provisions limiting municipal authority over modification of existing telecommunications facilities.

The new provisions read as follows:

SEC. 6409. WIRELESS FACILITIES DEPLOYMENT.
(a) FACILITY MODIFICATIONS.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding section 704 of the Tele-
communications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–104) or any other provision of law, a State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.
(2) ELIGIBLE FACILITIES REQUEST.-For purposes of this subsection, the term ”eligible facilities request” means any request for modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that involves-
(A) collocation of new transmission equipment; (B) removal of transmission equipment; or (C) replacement of transmission equipment.

-Steven M. Silverberg