LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on a motion by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath to address the local land use authority on wireless telecommunications facilities.
Los Angeles County is committed to deleting the digital divide by ensuring all residents have internet access. Wireless telecommunication facilities (wireless facilities) are just one aspect of a multi-pronged effort to harness different technologies and strategies to delete the digital divide. However, there are challenges with wireless facilities at the local level due to a lack of trust in the current regulations at the federal level.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits state and local governments from establishing regulations for the placement, construction, and modification of wireless facilities. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued reports and orders in 2014, 2018, and 2019 that further constrain local land use authority to regulate wireless facilities, as well as impose accelerated timetables for processing applications for wireless facility development proposals. The reports and orders deprive due process to the public by not allowing sufficient time for local governments to engage with residents.
“The lack of transparency and communication regarding regulations established for wireless facilities is a serious issue. Many of these policies have not been updated for years and this has led to large-scale distrust by our residents as their concerns cannot be considered due to constraints imposed by the FCC,” said Supervisor Solis. “The FCC needs to come up with a better and inclusive process that will support local land use authority and our community’s concerns.”
“Los Angeles County is calling on the FCC to be a better partner in how they develop new wireless telecommunications infrastructure. Without early and meaningful community engagement, local governments and their residents have very little say in how, where, and when new facilities are built. This needs to change,” said Supervisor Horvath. “Additionally, more meaningful oversight by the FCC will ensure safety and increase public trust. Better engagement and more transparency will improve outcomes for the customers who rely on these important services.”
The motion approved today instructs the County’s Chief Executive Office-Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations Division to send a five-signature letter to the FCC to revise its current regulations for wireless facilities and develop both a more transparent and inclusive process to engage the community, state, and local governments on local land use authority. Additionally, the motion requests that the FCC provide direct oversight to impose requirements for independent analysis when proposing sites and monitor ongoing compliance with emissions regulations in partnership with local authorities.
To read the full motion, click here.