Resolution in Opposition to House Bill 1620, Entitled The “Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Bill”

Schedule a

WHEREAS, broadband service is a critical catalyst for economic development, student
achievement, quality healthcare, and the efficiency of local governments. As such, _(name of municipality) supports the deployment of broadband services—both wired and
wireless—in our community and throughout the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, a relatively new wireless technology, known as distributed antenna systems
or DAS, includes the placement of wireless towers and antennae in the public rights-of-way; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania municipalities are charged by state law with the management
of the public rights-of-way, including not only vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but also the
numerous facilities installed by public utilities and related companies. Municipalities must
manage these facilities to maintain public safety and preserve the character of our communities;
WHEREAS, pursuant to federal law, municipalities have the right to regulate the
“placement, construction, and modification” of wireless facilities through their local zoning
authority so that the deployment of these facilities is achieved in an orderly fashion. The FCC
has also issued multiple orders stating in detail how municipalities may regulate these facilities;
WHEREAS, House Bill 1620, entitled the “Wireless Infrastructure Deployment” bill,
would strip municipalities of their legal authority to regulate wireless facilities in the public
rights-of-way and would therefore undermine public safety and the protection of the rights-ofway; and
WHEREAS, specifically HB 1620 would abolish municipal zoning authority over
wireless antennae in the rights-of-way and nearly abolish their authority over wireless towers in
the rights-of-way, thereby placing public safety at risk and removing the public from the
approval process for towers and antennae; and
WHEREAS, HB 1620 would prohibit municipalities from requiring standard legal
protections from companies with wireless facilities in the public rights-of-way, including full
indemnification, bonding, and insurance coverage; and
WHEREAS, HB 1620 would severely limit the assessment of fees for wireless facilities
in the rights-of-way such that municipalities could only charge minimal fees that are less than
actual municipal costs; and
WHEREAS, HB 1620 would allow wireless contractors to submit up to 50 permit
requests in one application and would curtail the time frame for initial review of wireless
applications from 30 days to 10 days such that municipalities would be unable to perform these
reviews in time; and
WHEREAS, HB 1620 would allow wireless companies to reverse a denial of a wireless
application simply by resubmitting a revised application without having to obtain zoning
WHEREAS, HB 1620 would expose outside municipal Solicitors and other municipal
law firms to financial liability of up to $10,000 per occurrence simply for drafting a wireless
ordinance that is deemed to be in violation of HB 1620.
WHEREAS, if the Pennsylvania General Assembly is permitted to abolish municipal
right-of-way authority over wireless facilities today, then it could abolish all municipal authority
over the public rights-of-way tomorrow.
[For rural municipalities only] WHEREAS, although entitled the “Wireless
Infrastructure Deployment” bill, HB 1620 includes no requirements for wireless providers to
deploy wireless broadband in the rural sections of Pennsylvania that are currently lacking in
broadband service.]

  1. That the (name of elected body) of _(name of municipality) does hereby
    express its opposition to HB 1620 because it is not in the best interests of Pennsylvania.
  2. That this Resolution shall be sent to our State Representative(s), State Senator, Governor,
    and all Members of the House Consumer Affairs Committee, which is the Committee to
    which HB 1620 has been assigned.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin