The FCC voted unanimously to approve new rules for tower siting that will speed up the application process for new and existing cell towers, fulfilling a pledge FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made to the wireless industry in October.
The commission voted, 5-0, to give states and localities a so-called "shot clock" for tower siting applications. The new rules mean there will be a deadline of 90 days to process applications for co-located facilities, where two or more providers share the tower, and 150 days for new towers. However, if the applications are not approved, operators must still take the issue into court.
The action is key for an industry keen to build out new cell sites as quickly as possible. Indeed, wireless lobby group CTIA told the FCC that it knows of 760 applications for new tower sites that have been waiting for responses by state and local governments for over a year, according to The Hill. The group said 180 applications have been waiting for more than three years.
"This sounds like a win, win, win to me," commissioner Michael Copps said at the FCC's monthly meeting. During a keynote speech at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show in San Diego in October, Genachowski said the issue was on that was "ripe for action."