Request for moratorium with justification

We ask that you impose a moratorium on “small cells” and other wireless infrastructure permits process and deployment until the COVID-19 emergency is over.

The wireless providers are using the COVID-19 emergency as cover to expand and cement their rapid and virtually unsupervised deployment of harmful wireless infrastructure. Our local leaders should not have to dedicate time and resources to policing whether the wireless companies are following local and state law, they have far more important things to do.

The FCC wireless permit rules allow emergency moratoria. Homeland Security guidelines emphasize that maintenance of existing communications capability is the priority. New construction is not “essential.”

The COVID-19 emergency has led to a government shut down of non-essential activity. Hospitals, emergency response and local officials are overwhelmed and they must be allowed to focus on what is indeed “essential”. Now is not the time to be dedicating resources to expanding, rather than just maintaining, our networks.

The FCC has directly held a local jurisdiction can impose a temporary halt to deployment and permits during emergencies. In the Matter of Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers, FCC 18-111, 33 FCC Rcd 7705, 7784-7785, ¶157 (2018) (“We recognize that there may be limited situations in the case of a natural disaster or other comparable emergency where an express or de facto moratoria that violates section 253(a) may nonetheless be ‘necessary’ to ‘protect the public safety and welfare’ or to ‘ensure the continued quality of telecommunications services.’ ”)

Homeland Security has declared that local government is on the forefront and can take control over determining whether to temporarily halt all non-essential activity. Homeland Security guidance documents prioritize maintenance of existing Communications Systems, and do not support “essential” status for new construction. See Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19, (local control); e-Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Support Annex, (focus on “protection, response, recovery, and restoration”). Homeland Security, like the FCC, understands that it is essential in an emergency situations justify focusing on protecting, responding, recovering and restoring of existing systems, but new communications facilities construction is and should be deemed nonessential, and subject to lockdown for so long as we are under emergency conditions.

Cities can and should impose a moratorium on deployment in their local area and freeze the permit process until the COVID-19 emergency is over.


Support for a moratorium

Law360 Telecom Industry, Localities Clash Over COVID-19 Hurdles

For example, Boston halted all construction projects and Atlanta suspended the submission of all new permitting plans, the group said. During the same conversation, WIA brought up a set of petitions filed last fall that ask the FCC to formally address what industry sees as barriers to expanding mobile networks, such as getting faster green lights for projects and heading off delays by localities.

"They're whining to regulators instead of the people they're complaining about," he said. "Hopefully at some point, they will realize that local governments are trying to solve problems, but it doesn't help to make them come to Washington to work them out." [ by Joe Van Eaton ]

Well if the wireless industry is complaining about it, cities may be establish moratoriums.