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Legislation would repeal FCC rules that limit state and local government control over telecom infrastructure

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Restoring Local Control Over Public Infrastructure Act to restore state and local government control over how wireless carriers deploy 5G equipment on phone and utility poles.

The legislation is in response to a pair of recent FCC rules that revoke local authority to regulate telecommunications equipment deployment and determine how much wireless carriers would pay to use public phone and utility poles.

“State and local governments have long regulated what goes on utility poles and how to manage the equipment,” Senator Feinstein said. “This is because they are in the best position to determine the safety and evaluate the impact of additional equipment, lines and chemicals. Our bill would restore state and local control of these decisions – where it belongs.”

The bill would overturn the new FCC rules and restore local control concerning the placement of 5G equipment on phone and utility poles. It would also overturn the FCC’s 60- to 90-day limits for local governments to review applications to use public infrastructure before those applications are automatically approved.

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

The bill is supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, American Public Power Association, Communications Workers of America, National Association of Counties, League of California Cities and American Public Works Association.