Mesh/Pole attachment

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Info on attaching telecommunications gear to city-owned poles.

New FCC rules

the FCC has implemented new rules in January that force local city/county/state governments to allow ISPs to install gear on utility and light poles and set maximum pricing and maximum aesthetic restrictions allowed. The aesthetic rule restrictions have already been overturned by the supreme court. It's being challenged in the ninth circuit court and is likely to be overturned but probably not until September.

The max price set is $270 per year per pole.

There is a lot of good info on this at Steve Blum's blog. A good starting point is the "pole attachment" tag.

The actual text of the new FCC rules is here.

Poles we CAN'T use

Utility poles

Utility poles are usually made out of wood and used to run electrical, phone and cable tv/internet lines.

It is unlikely we'll be allowed to mount to these.

The utility poles are owned either by PG&E or the Northern California Joint Pole Association, which is made up of electric, telephone, cable and other telecoms companies.

Utility poles are governed by CPUC rules. It's possible that PG&E or the NCJPA would allow us to mount on their poles, but they're only required to do so for CPUC-certified companies and that's as far they usually go. We can try contacting them but it's unlikely that we will get anywhere with these poles.

A CPUC-certified company is a telecommunications company that either has a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the CPUC, or is a mobile carrier with an FCC license and has filed a wireless identification registration (WIR) with the CPUC.

When you look up CPUC certification you might find this, which is a completely unrelated certification relating to Women/Minority/LGBT-owned businesses.

Traffic poles in Oakland

According to a human at the City of Oakland Department of Real Estate Services, they do not allow mounting on traffic poles for safety reasons.

TODO: Verify that this includes e.g. stop signs or if it's only traffic signals.

Poles we CAN use

Traffic poles in Berkeley

ToDo: Find out

Light poles in Oakland

It is possible to get permission to mount on light poles in Oakland. Traditionally this was only utilized by large ISPs like AT&T and negotiated with each ISP for hundreds of poles at once.

With the new FCC rules the fees will be the same for all, conform to the FCC maximum and be listed online. On May 7th 2019 a human from the City of Oakland Department of Real Estate Services told Marc Juul that changing over to support the new FCC rules had been delayed but would probably be done in two months. It may be that they are simply delaying and hoping that the new FCC rules will be overturned in September.

The approval and setting of fee used to be handled by the Department of Real Estate Services but with the new FCC rules the fee setting and some aspects were handed off to the IT department.

The process is:

  • Negotiate which poles to mount on, master agreement for mounting on poles in general and per-pole fees with IT Department - (should be fast)
  • Get letter of authorization from the landlord which is the Department of Real Estate Services - (should be fast)
  • Get planning commission approval - (sloooow. they have a huge backlog and just can't keep up with thing submitted for approval)
  • Get a building permit - (probably not very slow)
  • Get an encroachment permit - (no idea how slow)
  • Get electrical approval - (we may be able to skip this since we're not tying into any power. not sure. no idea of speed)

juul has been given contact info for two people at the IT department which will be our point of entry into this process.

All of these permits require fees. All of them are one-time and I don't think any of them depend on the number of poles, other than the yearly pole rental fee.

We can add or remove poles to the existing master agreement without going through the entirety of the first two steps again. Just need a quick approval for that. All the other steps remain the same.

The yearly fee per pole pre-FCC was around $1300 per year.

The human at the Department of Real Estate Services mentioned that fee reduction could be possible if there was some giveback to the city.

Delays, FCC and "shot clocks"

The good news is that the new FCC rules set a 90 day limit for the city to make a decision on permit applications for "small wireless facilities" which currently include mounting new equipment to a pole and this has been affirmed by federal courts. They are trying to reclassify attachment of new equipment to a pole as "colocation" which would shorten that deadline to 60 days.

Here's some info on what we could do if they miss the 90-day deadline from the official FCC document. They call these time windows for approval "shot clocks":

In particular, we read Sections 253 and 332 as allowing 60 days for reviewing the application for attachment of a Small Wireless Facility using an existing structure and 90 days for the review of an application for attachment of a small wireless facility using a new structure. Second, while we do not adopt a “deemed granted” remedy for violations of our new shot clocks, we clarify that failing to issue a decision up or down during this time period is not simply a “failure to act” within the meaning of applicable law. Rather, missing the deadline also constitutes a presumptive prohibition. We would thus expect any locality that misses the deadline to issue any necessary permits or authorizations without further delay. We also anticipate that a provider would have a strong case for quickly obtaining an injunction from a court that compels the issuance of all permits in these types of cases. Third, we clarify a number of issues that are relevant to all of the FCC’s shot clocks, including the types of authorizations subject to these time periods.

Here's some clarification on the FCC definition of what is and isn't part of the 90 day "shot clock":

TL;DR: Yeah the 90 days is for _everything_. Including safety and encroachment.

Industry commenters contend that the shot clocks should apply to all authorizations a locality may require, and to all aspects of and steps in the siting process, including license or franchise agreements to access ROW, building permits, public notices and meetings, lease negotiations, electric permits, road closure permits, aesthetic approvals, and other authorizations needed for deployment. Local siting authorities, on the other hand, argue that a broad application of Section will harm public safety and welfare by not giving them enough time to evaluate whether a proposed deployment endangers the public. They assert that building and encroachment permits should not be subsumed within the shot clocks because these permits incorporate essential health and safety reviews. 383 After carefully considering these arguments, we find that “any request for authorization to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities” under Section 332(c)(7)(B)(ii) means all authorizations necessary for the deployment of personal wireless services infrastructure. This interpretation finds support in the record and is consistent with the courts’ interpretation of this provision and the text and purpose of the Act.

The starting point for statutory interpretation is the text of the statute, 384 and here, the statute is written broadly, applying to “any” request for authorization to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities. The expansive modifier “any” typically has been interpreted to mean “one or some indiscriminately of whatever kind,” unless Congress “add[ed] any language limiting the breadth of that word.” The title of Section 332(c)(7) (“Preservation of local zoning authority”) does not restrict the applicability of this section to zoning permits in light of the clear text of Section 332(c)(7)(B)(ii). The text encompasses not only requests for authorization to place personal wireless service facilities, e.g., zoning requests, but also requests for authorization to construct or modify personal wireless service facilities. These activities typically require more than just zoning permits. For example, in many instances, localities require building permits, road closure permits, and the like to make construction or modification possible. Accordingly, the fact that the title standing alone could be read to limit Section 332(c)(7) to zoning decisions does not overcome the specific language of Section 332(c)(7)(B)(ii), which explicitly applies to a variety of authorizations.

Vertically mounted solar panels

A study called The Signpost Platform for City-Scale Sensing collected data on how much power is received by vertically mounted solar panels on traffic. See figure 5 on page 7.