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Tag Archives: Jonathan Adelstein

OSHA Calls for Help in Protecting Tower Workers

By J. Sharpe Smith —

April 16, 2015 — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is asking the tower industry for information about safety hazards in tower construction and maintenance to assist the agency in determining what measures are needed to prevent worker injuries and fatalities.


“NATE has worked closely with OSHA over the years educating them on the unique nuances of this industry,” said Todd Schlekeway, executive director, National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE). “It is not general construction. There are so many challenges to constructing and maintaining communications towers. This is another opportunity for the industry to continue that process of education.”

PCIA — the Wireless Infrastructure Association has made workforce safety a priority and has engaged with the Department of Labor and Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program in working to find ways to ensure that workers are better equipped to perform under safe conditions.

“We want to help create the wireless workforce of the future with the best training available to those who are deploying wireless infrastructure. PCIA welcomes the opportunity to work with OSHA and other government leaders on this critical effort,” said Jonathan Adelstein, PCIA president and CEO in a prepared statement



OSHA welcomed input from tower workers, wireless carriers, engineering and construction management firms, tower owners, and tower construction and maintenance companies on the causes of employee injuries and fatalities, and to share best practices used by workers and employers in the industry to address these hazards.

“This is an early part of their process to gather information on the industry to determine whether they want to move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” Schlekeway said. “We encourage our membership to review the RFI and respond to some of the specific questions that they feel strongly about.”

In particular, the RFI asks about the significant hazards that tower climbers face the job and what circumstances contribute to the hazards. The RFI asks tower climbers about what they do to remain safe on the job, and what additional safety-related practices they would like to see implemented. OSHA also asks about the specific safety rules and work practices that are provided to tower climbers and who gives them that information.


Schlekeway welcomed OSHA’s effort in the name of tower safety, but he wants to make sure the government knows the efforts the industry is making to address issues brought up in the RFI.

“We will make sure that everyone knows what the Wireless Industry Safety Task Force is working on and the direction of the National Wireless Safety Alliance in terms of assessment certification,” he said.

The deadline for submitting comments is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Interested parties may submit comments and additional materials electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be mailed or faxed.

FCC Harmonizes Tower Lighting Regs with FAA

By J. Sharpe Smith —

August 19, 2014 — The FCC has streamlined its Part 17 rules governing the construction, marking, and lighting of antenna structures in an attempt to reduce regulatory burdens and enhance compliance, while still preventing antenna structure from being hazards to air navigation, according to a Report and Order released Aug. 8. The industry applauded the Commission’s efforts.

“The Commission delivered real results on its process reform efforts by removing redundant regulatory requirements that increase compliance costs, which will allow investment to focus on broadband buildout,” Jonathan Adelstein, the president and CEO of PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, said in a prepared release. “The FCC’s Order will harmonize its regulations with the FAA to eliminate unnecessary rules, thereby encouraging the adoption of advanced technologies.”

Under the old rules, any antenna structure that required notification of the FAA also had to be registered with the FCC, which sometimes resulted in overlapping oversight. To streamline the process, the FCC said it was harmonizing the regulatory process, reducing the ambiguity of having to comply with two sets of rules.

“Today’s Order will have a real impact on wireless broadband deployment,” Adelstein said. “For example, PCIA’s members have spent tens of millions of dollars on lighting inspections since 2007, despite the adoption and availability of continuous monitoring technology. By reforming lighting inspection requirements, the FCC will encourage more wireless providers to re-channel unnecessary compliance expenditures to more beneficial uses, such as infrastructure upgrades and rural deployment.”

FAA Advisory Circulars

The FCC revised its rules to eliminate any reference to older FAA Advisory Circulars. Instead, structure owners are required to comply with the FAA’s “no hazard” determination and associated study for a structure in establishing painting and lighting specifications.
“Eliminating specific references to FAA publications will clarify the lighting and marking obligations of antenna structure owners should any FAA Advisory Circulars (be outdated or) change in the future,” the Commission wrote.

The FCC will not require existing antenna structures to comply with new lighting and marking requirements, deferring instead to the FAA for future regulation.
“We find that, on balance, the costs associated with retroactive application of new lighting and marking specifications outweigh any limited corresponding benefit,” the Commission wrote.
Noting that conservation groups had urged the FCC to retroactively impose prohibitions against the use of certain steady burning lights to safeguard migrating birds, the Commission responded that while it understood their concerns, rule changes would have to wait until the FAA updates its Advisory Circulars to reflect the FAA 2012 Conspicuity Study.

The FCC clarified rules that require a new registration prior to making alterations to be in concert with the FAA rules that require a new aeronautical study and determination of “no hazard” when a change of one foot or more in height or one second or greater in location is proposed.

“We defer to the FAA’s expertise on these matters in finding that these requirements are sufficient to help ensure air safety. On balance, we conclude that harmonizing our standards for when changes in height or location require supplemental notice with the FAA’s requirement for when a new study is required is in the public interest, as it provides greater clarity to structure owners without harming air safety,” the FCC wrote.

The Commission harmonized its notification rules with FAA rules that require owners to file supplemental notice within five days of the time that a construction or alteration of a structure reaches its greatest height, a proposed construction or alteration is abandoned, or a construction or alteration is dismantled or destroyed.

Other topics contained in the Report and Order include voluntary antenna structure registration, posting of antenna structure registration, provision of antenna structure registration to tenants, maintenance of marking and lighting, inspection of structure lights and associated control equipment, notification of extinguishment or improper functioning of lights, lighting malfunction repair timelines, record keeping requirements, and maintenance of painting.

PCIA Demands Tower Zoning Denial Explanations

By J. Sharpe Smith —

July 13, 2014 — PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association last week urged the U.S. Supreme Court to require localities to provide an explanation when a tower site application is denied.

In an amicus curiae brief submitted in support of T-Mobile in the case of T-Mobile South LLC v. City of Roswell, Georgia, PCIA petitioned the court to reverse the 11th Circuit’s ruling, which allowed localities to deny tower site zoning applications without an accompanying explanation.

In his keynote at the AGL Conference, June 19, in Washington, D.C., Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of PCIA, applauded the Supreme Court for taking up another zoning process case. “Last year, the Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s zoning approval shot clock, which was a great outcome for us,” he said. “And this year they’re going to decide whether a local government has to explain in writing why it does a denial, not just write ‘NO’ on a postcard, which is basically what the 11th Circuit Court said was OK.”

PCIA called on the Supreme Court to adopt the approach used in a majority of federal circuit courts in enforcing the Telecom Act’s provision requiring localities to issue a written explanation based on substantial evidence in the denial of a wireless siting application.

“The majority approach is the only sensible reading of the statute. The alternative advanced by the 11th Circuit —written denials that lack any explanation —forces providers and reviewing courts to conduct a scavenger hunt through the record in search of the reasons for denial. The result is more time-consuming litigation and increased costs, contrary to the statute and national broadband priorities,” PCIA wrote.

PCIA, Warriors 4 Wireless Developing Training Programs

PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association – and Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W) are developing technical training programs to help solve the growing workforce needs of wireless infrastructure companies. The organizations are currently writing a grant to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) for funding for a program at Virginia State University, PCIA CEO Jonathan Adelstein said during his keynote address at the AGL Conference, held June 19 in Washington, D.C.

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“One of the things that I am really excited about is building a wireless work force so that we can deploy 4G and 5G and beyond,” Adelstein said. “Job training is crucial to unlocking the growth of potentially 30,000 jobs in the wireless industry, according to a study performed by PCIA.  There are 10,000 jobs in our industry that we are having trouble filling right now, particularly tower climbers.”

Last Fall, W4W CEO Kelley Dunne asked PCIA to be the lead industry association representative to help recruit veterans for jobs in the wireless industry. Adelstein subsequently joined the organization’s seven-member advisory board.

“We are a precision industry. It takes precision training to get the job done right,” Adelstein said. “There are not enough people to get the job done right. Turf vendor members are saying that their biggest challenge is the labor market.”

The initiative was formally launched in Washington, D.C. last November in an event at the White House hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Other companies that have committed to the effort include Mastec, Cisco, American Tower and T-Mobile.

Aiken Technical College has partnered with W4W to become its educational provider of tower installation training in the southeastern United States.

“We jumped in with both feet doing everything we can to make the program at Aiken work. We have identified an additional school, Virginia State University, to [assist W4W],” Adelstein said.

Adelstein said students in the VSU program will not be prepared for temporary jobs, but for lifelong careers in the wireless industry.

“So we are developing a complete curriculum – from tower climbing and installing DAS and small cells to RF design and engineering,” Adelstein said.

In order get the ball rolling at VSU, PCIA is applying for a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for VSU, which is due in two weeks. Adelstein asked the audience to provide the association with support letters that discuss workforce needs of companies that will hire graduates of the program.

“We need your involvement,” Adelstein said. “We want to prove to the DoL that we have a pipeline of companies that will take these graduates.”  The W4W program has an aggressive goal of placing more than 5,000 veterans in wireless technician positions by 2015. In the future, Adelstein hopes to expand the technical training program to schools nationwide to try to meet that goal.

FCC Proposes Streamlining Small Cell, DAS Deployments

The FCC has released a broadband deployment proceeding, which proposes to speed up the deployment of DAS and small cells through an exemption from the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The proceeding shows that the commission believes the technologies align with its spectrum management goals.

“The increasing demand for advanced wireless services and greater wireless bandwidth is driving a need for additional infrastructure deployment and new infrastructure technologies. To meet localized needs for coverage or increased capacity in outdoor and indoor environments, many wireless providers are turning in part to small cell technologies and DAS,” the FCC wrote in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. “Because these cells are significantly smaller in coverage area than traditional macrocells, networks that incorporate small cell technology can take advantage of greater re-use of scarce wireless frequencies, thus greatly increasing spectral efficiency and data capacity within the network footprint.”

Rules concerning environmental review of wireless deployment were developed before the advent of small cells and, therefore, reflect environmental concerns caused by cell towers. The FCC Commissioners asked whether the environmental review process may be unnecessary given the minimal effects on the environment of small cells. Additionally, deployments under National Historic Preservation Act will be discussed.

Last year PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association asked the FCC to categorically exclude DAS and small cell deployments from all environmental processing, including both NEPA and Section 106 processing, with the exception of compliance with RF emission exposure limits. The FCC’s positive response to that proposal, which would speed up small cell deployment, was applauded by Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of PCIA.

“They hit the nail on the head by acknowledging that common-sense reforms are needed to modernize historic and environmental review processes for the deployment of DAS and small cells. They recognize we can’t treat every DAS node like a 500-foot cell tower,” Adelstein said.

Russell Fox, a member of the law firm Mintz Levin, said all of the proposals, if approved, would help the FCC keep up with advancements in wireless technology.

 “A lot of this is in recognition of the fact that the tower industry is different today than it was 10 to 20 years ago,” Fox said. “We have got a lot more small cell deployment that doesn’t raise the same concerns as big towers. We also have more temporary towers. The FCC is keeping up with technology and the way wireless networks are deployed today.”