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Articles

FCC Adopts New Public Notice Requirements for Registering Antenna Structures

December 13, 2011

Articles

FCC Adopts New Public Notice Requirements for Registering Antenna Structures

December 13, 2011

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Update – June 18, 2012, FCC published notice in the Federal Register that the Office of Management and Budget has approved the new rules.

The FCC has adopted new procedures for providing public notice of towers that require Antenna Structure Registrations (ASRs). The new rules will become effective upon approval by the Office of Management and Budget and publication of a Public Notice in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. The FCC was ordered to revise its ASR procedures because of a U.S. Courts of Appeals decision finding that the construction of communications towers could have a significant environmental effect on migratory birds.

The FCC’s new notice requirements will apply to all structures that require notice to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and registration with the FCC, including towers more than 200 feet in height, structures located on the grounds of an airport, and towers between 20-200 feet in height that exceed an imaginary 100:1 slope around an airport runway. These notice requirements will apply to such towers throughout the nation regardless of the geographic location of the proposed antenna structure. Notice will be required for new towers and major modifications to existing registered towers (i.e., collocations that result in a substantial increase in height or a change to a less preferred method of lighting), but not for administrative or minor changes.

The FCC has adopted the following rules:

  • Prior to filing an ASR application to register a new antenna structure, an applicant must provide notice of the proposed construction to the local community, and the FCC will post information about the proposal on its website, to give members of the public 30 days to comment on the environmental effects of the proposed construction. The FCC will consider any comments received from the public to determine whether an Environmental Assessment (EA) is required for the tower.
  • EAs for towers must be filed and considered by the FCC before the applicant can submit an ASR application.
  • On an interim basis, an EA will be required for any proposed tower more than 450 feet in height to address its potential impact on migratory birds. Towers under 450 feet could be made subject to EA review based on comments from the public and FCC review of those comments.

An ASR application that is pending with the FCC as of the date these new rules become effective (upon Federal Register publication of OMB approval) will not be subject to the notification process. However, if such an application is amended, then it may become subject to the notification process.

A copy of the FCC’s Order on Remand is available here.

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