White House rejects FCC proposal on cell towers

The White House Office of Management and Budget has nixed a proposal by the FCC to require all U.S. cell towers to have at least eight hours of backup power, saying the FCC did not allow for sufficient public comment for the proposal, among other infractions.

The office, which oversees the implementation of federal regulations, said the FCC also did not prove that the information required from wireless carriers would be useful or 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. A federal appeals court had put the regulation on hold this summer, pending a decision by the OMB.

The FCC has a few options now, including changing the regulation or voting to override the OMB's decision, but the court would still have to rule on the proposed regulation before it took effect.

"We believe that having backup power for America's communications networks during times of emergency is vitally important for public safety," said FCC spokesman Robert Kenny. "Ensuring that reliable and redundant communications are available to public safety during, and in the aftermath, of natural disasters and other catastrophic events continues to be a high priority for the Commission."

CTIA, Sprint Nextel and other industry players had fought to stop the regulation, which the FCC first proposed in May 2007.

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