NATOA, NLC, CWA brief press on opposition to the FCC’s Orders on Small Cell

Top Issues,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 6, 2020
CONTACT: Sam Schneider,, 301.706.9261

Ahead of Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments on Feb. 10, Mayors, City Officials and
Experts Oppose FCC Orders on ‘Small Cell’ Deployment

San José, CA Mayor Sam Liccardo, Brookhaven, GA Mayor John Ernst and Boston Department of
Innovation and Technology expert Mike Lynch outline the case against the FCC orders

Dozens of cities and counties filed suit against the Trump administration’s Federal Communications
Commission orders that limit local governments’ authority to manage streets and public property

WASHINGTON -- On a media call today, mayors and city officials from cities around the country joined
experts from the National League of Cities (NLC), the National Association of Telecommunications
Officers and Advisors (NATOA), and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to lay out their
opposition to the FCC’s orders on ‘small cell’ 5G network deployment. The FCC orders are the subject of
a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit brought by local governments. Oral arguments will be heard on Monday,
February 10.

The Trump administration’s FCC orders issued in August and September of 2018 dramatically weaken
municipal authority to manage streets and public property. Dozens of cities and counties across the
country - including San José, Brookhaven and Boston - sued the Trump administration in an effort to
reverse the FCC orders. CWA, along with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Public Knowledge,
filed an amicus brief in June 2019 in support of the local government plaintiffs, arguing that the FCC’s
orders are an unlawful federal overreach that ties the hands of cities doing innovative work to close the
digital divide.

“By launching the nation’s first digital inclusion fund, San Jos é has shown how fairly negotiated
partnerships with the private sector can close the digital divide for thousands of students and
low-income families, while accelerating 5G and small cell deployment,” said San José Mayor Sam
Liccardo. “In contrast, the FCC’s new rules preclude any other U.S. city from similarly negotiating deals
that could improve connectivity for underserved communities, while forcing local taxpayers to subsidize
these multinational corporations with billions in below-market rate access to publicly-funded
infrastructure. Americans deserve better from this Administration.”

“In my city in Georgia, these big telecom companies have come in chasing a profit and started installing
their small cell equipment wherever they want, without consulting with elected officials and considering
the impact on the local community,” said Brookhaven, GA Mayor John Ernst . “People aren’t against 5G
-- they just want to be able to have some say over what gets built in their own front lawn.”

For both 4G and 5G deployment, companies seek to place small cell equipment on public property, like
light poles and sidewalks; the FCC orders establish very low fee caps for permits and short timelines for
approval, putting public safety and public budgets at risk.

“ The FCC’s orders have created a land grab process, but not better deployment of wireless in local
communities,” said Mike Lynch, Broadband and Cable expert at Boston Department of Innovation and
Technology (DoITT). “The orders preempt state and local management of the rights of way and public
property, while providing no mandates or incentives for carriers to actually provide 5G service in a safe,
reliable and equitable way.”

“NATOA supports the right of cities, both large and small, to manage their public property, and
determine how new technology is being deployed in their communities,” said NATOA General Counsel
Nancy L. Werner. “The FCC orders prevent cities from seeing fair returns on their publicly funded assets.
They set aggressive deadlines for local governments to process applications, which in turn undermine
public safety. They also tie local government’s hands in a way that prevents telecom companies from
being held accountable for the reliability and equitable distribution of the networks they build.”

“At the end of the day, we all want our communities to benefit from new technology like 5G, but the
FCC is preventing cities from making the kinds of community-focused decisions that prevent digital
redlining and preserve streetscapes,” said CEO and Executive Director of National League of Cities
Clarence E. Anthony. “By preventing cities from charging an appropriate fee for the use of public
property by big corporations, the FCC is forcing cities to subsidize private development, without any
guarantee of a benefit to their residents. In the face of overreach and misinterpretation of federal
statute by the FCC, and the threat of congressional stalemate, NLC made the decision to join dozens of
our member cities, towns and villages and ask the courts to provide a remedy.”

“I represent thousands of telecommunications workers who are members of CWA in California, Nevada,
and Hawaii, and I can tell you that working people are concerned about the orders coming out of the
FCC,” said CWA District 9 Vice President Frank Arce. “CWA members know firsthand the dangers of
rushed deployment. We’ve seen out-of-state contractors who aren’t properly trained, doing rushed
work without proper attention to safety. When local power is robbed and it’s an industry free-for-all on
public property, it also hurts workers, public safety, and people in our community who don’t have digital
access. This is a local government issue, this is a workers rights issue, this is a digital equity issue – we
need to hold the industry accountable.”

"Local governments want to ensure their residents have access to broadband, and also to ensure that it
is available on fair terms to everyone, to protect local values, and to maintain public safety,” said Legal
Director at Public Knowledge John Bergmayer. “The FCC's attempt to preempt localities from carrying
out their democratic duties was illegal, and should be reversed.”

“The FCC’s rules are setting the stage for a new digital divide -- those who do and do not have access to
5G,” said Angela Siefer, Executive Director at National Digital Inclusion Alliance. “If local governments
can't ensure that 5G networks are equitably deployed, poorer communities will be last in line for
upgraded broadband service, if indeed they ever receive it. We've seen this before with fiber
deployments. Additionally, cities are losing an important tool for supporting the digital inclusion
programs that those communities need.”

In Congress, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and California
Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation aimed at repealing the FCC’s orders.
The Restoring Local Control Over Public Infrastructure Act of 2019 (S. 2012) and the Accelerating
Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019 (H.R. 530) aim to repeal the
FCC’s orders that limit state and local government control over telecom infrastructure.

Last summer, CWA launched a Fair 5G website dedicated to providing information and resources for
local communities navigating small cell deployment. In September, the union released
recommendations for the deployment of small cell wireless infrastructure at the 2019 conference of
the National Association of Telecommunications Advisors and Officers (NATOA), the nation’s largest
gathering of local government telecommunications professionals.

Oral arguments will take place at the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, California in Courtroom 3 at 9:00AM
PT. The three-judge panel will include Judges Schroeder, Bybee, and Bress. Video streaming is
available via the Ninth Circuit website. The consolidated case is City of Eugene, Oregon v. FCC, Ninth
Circuit, No. 19-70344.