FCC > WTB > Tower/Antenna Siting Issues > Pre-Construction Review

Towers and Facilities: Pre-Construction Review

The FCC licenses most wireless communications services to operate in a general geographic area, rather than to operate at a specific site. For these geographic-area licensees, the Commission does not routinely review the proposed construction of towers built to support transmission equipment used by these licensees (although the Commission does review if the Commission's rules require a NEPA filing or antenna structure registration).

The Commission does routinely review a small percentage of those towers used to support wireless communications facilities. These cases include: towers built to support facilities used by wireless communications services that are licensed on a site-specific basis, and towers built to extend the contour area established by a cellular service provider.

Broadcast stations (AM, FM, TV, Low Power FM, Low Power TV and secondary services such as translator and booster stations) require site-specific authorizations from the Commission prior to construction. These authorizations specify, among other things, the power, height, and coordinates of the antenna tower, as well as the authorized frequency of operations.

While broadcast applicants are encouraged to and often do mount their transmission antennas on an existing tower, many broadcast applicants find it necessary to erect a new tower. As part of the application process, the applicant will provide the coordinates and height of the proposed structure.

The Commission staff will not issue an authorization -- and therefore construction of a wireless or broadcast station may not commence - until the staff has received an antenna structure registration FCC 854 Form, which will include clearance for the proposed tower from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fact Sheets on Tower Siting

The Commission's Facility Siting Task Force has prepared two helpful Fact Sheets that detail many of the issues surrounding the siting of wireless telecommunications facilities. Fact Sheet #1 provides a brief overview of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Commission's role in the siting process and Fact Sheet #2 provides more detailed information on facility siting.

See also http://www.fcc.gov/dtv/

Last Reviewed/Updated on 11/24/2006