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April 14, 2020

New Best Practices Help Localities Manage Wireless Infrastructure Siting During COVID-19 .

New Best Practices Help Localities Manage Wireless Infrastructure Siting During COVID-19

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Kara Graves
Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

 

Communities across the U.S. are facing considerable challenges as they seek to protect their residents in the face of COVID-19. For state and local governments, one such focus is rightly on how to keep constituents both safe and connected to their wireless network—which is why their role in ensuring that our nation’s wireless providers have the ability to expand and densify their networks is as important as ever.

To keep Americans connected and meet the increased demand for wireless—from first responders, patients and doctors, children learning remotely and employees fortunate to work from home—the industry needs to continue deploying network infrastructure. An important piece of that process is the permitting of continued deployment by state and local governments so the industry can meet today’s network needs as well as tomorrow’s. That means upgrading existing facilities and adding new facilities to address new COVID-related demand and expected future demand.

In these difficult times, as states, municipalities, and their employees work through an ever-growing list of priorities—often remotely—we seek to make our shared goal of deploying wireless facilities to support the demand for connectivity as seamless and efficient as we can to avoid burdening localities.

That’s why CTIA created a set of best practices for consideration, modeled on the efforts of communities that have been working creatively to keep everyone safe and wireless companies building by adopting flexible procedures to review wireless facility applications.

These practices encourage the continued use of online permitting where it’s already available; adoption of online and digital tools for permitting and performing historic reviews; conducting meetings via video where possible and flexibility when it comes to original documentation requirements during state emergency orders.

The best practices also highlight DHS’s recent guidance designating wireless networks as “critical infrastructure” and the wireless communications workforce as “essential critical infrastructure workers” to help states and localities navigate these importance rules.

We know what a challenging time this is, and we are committed to helping people stay connected to the tools, benefits and people they rely on. We know that’s a critical priority of our state and local partners as well.
Kara Graves, Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

And wireless providers are committed to working with our state and local partners by helping them find ways to go digital through free or low-cost services, sharing tips and instructions for using online tools and remaining flexible in truing up any original documentation necessary once the state of emergency has passed.

We know what a challenging time this is, and we are committed to helping people stay connected to the tools, benefits and people they rely on. We know that’s a critical priority of our state and local partners as well. By utilizing practices that have proven effective in communities across the country and leveraging collaborations with wireless industry partners, the wireless industry and state and local governments can work together to achieve that common goal.

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