BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Seattle steps up to the plate as the first city to take on the Federal Communications Commission in the emerging battles over the rollout of so-called 5G, or fifth generation, wireless networks. 5G networks require an exponential expansion on transceivers, and many cities are frustrated by the sense that the FCC is steamrolling their interests.
Mayor Durkan and City Attorney Holmes Announce Seattle Will Appeal FCC’s Proposed Rules That Strip Local Authority Over 5G Rollout
Following a vote by the Federal Communications Commission to limit local control of public rights-of-way as technology companies deploy 5G wireless telecommunication network infrastructure, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes announced their intention to appeal the FCC Order in federal court saying:
“Seattle strongly opposes this overreach by the Trump administration. Instead of expediting the deployment of high speed internet or addressing digital inequity, the FCC’s actions impede local authority and will require cities to subsidize the wireless industry’s deployment for private gain, giving away public property without asking for anything in return.
“The scope of this overreach is significant. It impedes local authority to serve as trustees of public property and to fulfill cities’ public health and safety responsibilities while establishing unworkable standards. This will increase costs and impose an unreasonable burden on local governments.
“We are working with impacted City Departments: Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Department Construction and Inspections, Finance and Administrative Services, Seattle Public Utilities, Parks and Recreation, and others – to understand the full extent of these impacts. This includes planning for process changes and increased staffing for compliance with the new FCC Order.
“The City of Seattle has been working with telecom carriers to provide efficient and predictable processes in building next generation infrastructure. In the coming weeks, the City Attorney’s Office will examine how the Order will impact our existing contracts with telecom carriers. Seattle also needs to examine how the Order will impact the many pending applications for deployment of wireless infrastructure, as the actions by the FCC have impeded these efforts. We are particularly concerned about how the Order will compromise the safety, security, and reliability of critical electrical infrastructure, City Light’s utility poles.
“In coordination with the overwhelming majority of local jurisdictions that oppose this unprecedented federal intrusion by the FCC, we will be appealing this order, challenging the FCC’s authority and its misguided interpretations of federal law.
“Seattle is working on innovative ways to lead on the deployment of next-gen technologies like 5G wireless networks. But we cannot support an Order that commandeers City resources for private gain, limits municipal control over its own resources, and tramples local concerns over safety and access. Joined by Mayors across the country, Seattle is strongly in opposition to this overreach by the Trump administration.”