Do Not Sign: Wireless providers circulating misleading letter to cities

The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) has shared with Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) the important and time sensitive information below regarding requests from certain wireless providers asking city officials to “sign on” to a letter to the Federal Communications Commission.

The LMC, the National League of Cities and MMUA strongly urge city officials not to sign on to the letter. See below for full details.

Issue: The League has received information from the National League of Cities that at least two wireless providers have been reaching out to local leaders to request that they sign on to/send a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging federal rulemaking on small cell wireless facilities siting. The letter is being pitched to city leaders as a way to show support for the growth and potential of 5G technology, but is being used by industry to demonstrate city support for FCC rulemaking that would harm cities. These letters can and will be used by the FCC to justify preemption. They may sound reasonable at first, particularly to those unfamiliar with small cell preemption issues, but will be used to undercut local authority.

Our Request: We strongly urge you or your mayor to decline any requests to sign this letter.

More Information: An example of the language you may see in this sample letter is provided below. Several cities across the country have already filed versions of these letters with the FCC. Again, we strongly urge you decline any requests to sign this letter. If you or your city is interested in filing something with the FCC in support of local authority, please let me know and I can share past examples of what our national affiliates and individual local governments have already filed that you can use as a model or cite to in your filings. It is worth contributing real information in defense of cities to this docket, and sharing it with your members of Congress as well.

A snippet from the misleading letter:

“As mayor of (city), I know that technology fosters ingenuity and economic growth in our cities and towns. That is why it’s critical we work together to bring small cells and, ultimately, 5G to cities across the nation. Your efforts to create model infrastructure rules that expedite small cell deployment while retaining reasonable protections for city rights-of-way should be applauded.

Expediting small wireless facility deployment is critical to delivering wireless access to advanced technology, broadband, and 911 services to residences, businesses, and schools. At the same time, cities should establish a fair and predictable process that retains protections for rights-of-way. A smart small cell policy should include:

·        Comprehensive but transparent guidelines;

·        Reasonable compensation; and

·        Expedited yet thorough review timeline.

Through a thoughtful approach to small cells, some cities are working diligently to pave the way for the future while protecting the needs of the city. While some cities have moved quickly, others may benefit form a model policy that accelerates small cell deployments while retaining fair and reasonable protections for cities.

Working together we can provide a smart policy that fosters the technology needs of tomorrow and protecting the rights of cities throughout the country.

Thank you for your efforts to help ensure our cities remain competitive and encourage ongoing investment in our future.”

Questions? Contact Laura Ziegler, MPP | LMC Sr Intergovernmental Relations Liaison | (651) 281-1267 | www.lmc.org