NATOA eN-Light News: Legal & Regulatory Update

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Legal & Regulatory Update

by Nancy Werner, NATOA General Counsel

The events of 2020 did not slow our work on the regulatory front. The FCC continues to push its wireless policy agenda with a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in June regarding the rules for must-approve requests to modify certain wireless facilities. NATOA has joined many local governments in challenging the Declaratory Ruling in court, and filed Comments and Reply Comments with NLC, USCM, NACo and NATaT opposing the NPRM’s suggestion that wireless facilities can be deployed outside of existing tower sites without local approval.

Meanwhile, the legal challenges to the FCC’s 2019 5G actions and Cable Franchise Rules continue. With respect to 5G and small cells, in August the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated most of the FCC’s limits on local aesthetic standards, but upheld other portions of the orders that preempt local authority over deployment of small wireless facilities. NATOA joined many other local governments and associations in asking a larger panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the issues upheld in the three judge panel’s decision. On the cable franchise order, NATOA participated in the legal challenge pending in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, with a decision likely in 2021.

The ongoing FCC actions and legal challenges continually change the legal landscape, but we’re here to make sure you stay up to speed. If you’re not a member of our Policy and Legal Committee, sign up today to get updates on the regulatory issues impacting your community, and be sure to register for our December eNATOA: The Courts, The Hill and The FCC - A Year in Review and Setting the Stage for 2021. Our panel of experts will ensure you close out the year with the most up-to-date legal and regulatory information and help you prepare for 2021.

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