Environmental Procedures at the FCC: A Case Study in Corporate Capture

With infrastructure including millions of miles of fiber optic cable and lines, thousands of towers, earth stations and satellites, and hundreds of thousands of small cells,1 the telecommunications industry leaves a significant environmental footprint: wetlands filled, viewsheds marred, cultural resources damaged, and habitat destroyed. As the agency overseeing telecommunications, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates radio, TV, satellite, cable, and both wireline and wireless communications—and associated entities like Verizon, AT&T, and broadcast and radio corporations. It also plays a critical role in providing universal broadband and telecommunications access, and authorizing facilities associated with wireline and wireless build-outs. Yet the FCC fails to fulfill its mandatory duty,