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Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Under Section 6409 – An Underutilized Tool?

Section 6409 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 addresses neither taxes nor job creation.  Instead, Section 6409 constitutes one of the Federal government’s latest significant efforts to streamline the approval process for deployment of wireless transmission equipment.  Generally, Section 6409 (along with an FCC Order from October 2014) provides that so long as the siting request is for a modification of an existing wireless site which doesn’t “substantially change” the physical dimensions of the site, the siting request isn’t subject to local land use regulation.  Such “modifications” include collocation or removal/replacement of wireless transmission equipment, and are intended to exclude requests for approval of new towers or sites – which remain subject to the typical local land use approval process.

Thus far, Section 6409 filings have not been as prevalent in the Carolinas as they have been in other parts of the country.  This dynamic is changing, however, as more telecommunications providers in this region begin to better understand the potential savings of both time and expense which a proper Section 6409 filing can afford.  If you have questions about Section 6409 filings, please do not hesitate to contact Gray Styers, Karen Kemerait or Jonathan Fine.