MUNICIPAL RIGHT-OF-WAY AUTHORITY IN FCC’S CROSSHAIRS

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a “Notice of Inquiry (NOI)” (view the NOI at http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0407/FCC-11-51A1.pdf) regarding local right-of-way regulations and franchise fees and how the agency can “work with” cities “to improve policies for access to rights-of-way and for wireless facility siting.”  The NOI could result in federal rules that preempt city right-of-way management authority and/or franchise fees.

Specifically, the NOI seeks information and data regarding challenges, best practices, and educational efforts to help the FCC accurately determine the need for policy and rules surrounding broadband deployment. 

No one should mistake the neutral language in the NOI as being city-friendly.  Similar NOIs in the past relating to cable franchising and wireless tower siting have resulted in severe curtailment of municipal authority.  The Texas Municipal League, along with the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association, will be submitting detailed comments and legal authority to protect municipal interests.

It is essential that each city also submits comments, which are due by July 18, 2011.

City participation in this federal process is imperative to protecting municipal authority and revenue. 


TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose.
No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the
Texas Municipal League.

Back to Legislative Update Index