CWA warns of public and worker safety dangers in industry petition to revise wireless infrastructure rules

CWA submitted PDF iconcomments to the Federal Communications Commission warning that a proposed industry petitions to revise wireless infrastructure rules would unnecessarily endanger public and worker safety. The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and CTIA, a wireless industry trade association, filed petitions with the FCC to change the requirements around localities’ processing of modifications to existing towers, base stations, and small cell facilities. These modifications are subject to expedited processing and approval by localities.

Modifications to wireless equipment and infrastructure often involve complex and technical work. Work done without proper oversight can lead to dangerous conditions for workers and the public. Some examples are: electrocution risk, overloading that causes heavy structures to fall, damage to gas lines that cause fire or explosion, and damage to other utility lines. Permits and other authorizations by localities ensure that work is done safely and in coordination with all utilities. By attempting to bypass these authorizations, the WIA/CTIA proposals to expand the strict shot clock requirements and the “deemed granted” remedies to all authorizations pose a risk to public and worker safety. 

“Many local governments, particularly smaller municipalities, have limited capacity

to process applications,” said CWA. “It defies logic to propose a scenario where a city official has never reviewed an application, but a company would nonetheless be able to conduct sensitive and potentially dangerous work, potentially in the right-of-way and interacting with underground utilities.”


Comments of Communications Workers of America in WIA/CTIA Petition for Rulemaking (CWA, Oct 29, 2019)