FCC will revise cell tower backup power rules

The FCC said Wednesday that it will not override a recent White House agency's decision to block the FCC's proposed rules on requiring cell towers to have at least eight hours of backup power, but will instead revise its own regulations.

In a notice to the federal appeals court reviewing the rules, the FCC said it would try to create a new set of regulations "with the goal of adopting revised backup power rules that will ensure that reliable communications are available to public safety during, and in the aftermath of, natural disasters and other catastrophic events."

The White House Office of Management and Budget had nixed the regulations last week, saying the FCC did not allow for sufficient public comment for the proposal, did not prove that the information required from wireless carriers would be useful and also did not prove that it would have enough staff to analyze all of the documentation the carriers said they would need to provide to comply with the regulation. The FCC said it would not override the OMB's decision, even though it could so as an independent executive branch agency.

The FCC first proposed the rules in May 2007, which stemmed from discussions among public safety officials about the need to have communications networks operating for relief responses in the wake of Hurrican Katrina. CTIA, Sprint Nextel and other industry players had brought legal challenges to the rules. 

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