Ajit Pai Squares Off with a Dozen Cities
More than a dozen cities are challenging Ajit Pai’s FCC in court over a recent decision that could give telecom companies millions in financial and other breaks as they race to build a next-generation wireless network powered by 5G mobile data. Officials from Los Angeles; Portland, OR; and Bellevue, WA., among others, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday to review the rule change by the FCC, which restricts cities' ability to charge for access to public utility poles. The Washington Post reports that under the FCC’s new policy, telecom carriers seeking permits to install their network equipment on public infrastructure must have their requests reviewed more quickly by city officials. Cities are also required to charge carriers no more than $270 per year per cell site in access fees. Before the new policy, carriers could expect to pay $500 per pole annually, on average. San Jose settled on a $500 million deal in June with AT&T and Verizon to build out a local network. The city is also among those appealing the new FCC policy. More here.