The Federal Communications Commission has issued a reminder that anyone involved in the change of ownership of a wireless communication tower must follow a certain notification process.
“This reminder is necessary because of inconsistent compliance with this process, and it reflects the importance of maintaining accurate records in the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) System, which functions to protect aircraft navigation safety,” it stated.
In February of 2019 the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau put out a notice announcing that the FCC was revising its ASR System with a new process for reporting changes in ownership of towers and other structures registered in the system. It made changes to FCC Form 854, Antenna Structure Registration, and the commission’s ASR website at that time.
“The ownership change application procedure is a two-step process that requires both the assignor (current owner of record) and the assignee (new owner of record) to take several steps,” the FCC now reminds us.
Those steps are to log into ASR, complete their respective portions of the application, and provide the signature of an authorized person.
“In the time since these changes were enacted, there have been a number of instances where ownership changes were not properly completed because one of the parties failed to complete the process. These failures made it difficult to identify the owner responsible for compliance with our Part 17 rules, led to complications in subsequent transfers, and resulted in other administrative inefficiencies.”
Part 17 of the rules covers construction, marking, and lighting of antenna structures.
The commission is reminding all parties to transfers of ownership of registered towers that they must comply with the process in the Ownership Change Public Notice.
“Further, we recommend that parties complete the change of ownership in ASR as part of the sales transaction, rather than leaving the ASR ownership change to be completed at a later date. If the ownership change application process is not properly completed by both parties, the ASR system will identify the wrong entity as the owner, which may result in the wrong entity being held responsible for a tower it no longer holds and may slow down future transfers of ownership for current owners. It could also impact aviation safety by preventing or delaying lighting outage reports from reaching tower owners and thus delay subsequent FAA notification and repairs.”
It noted that its Licensing Support Hotline is available on weekday business hours to help with the online application process at (877) 480-3201 option 2; TTY (717) 338-2824.
Tower registrations do apply to radio and TV; one industry broadcast attorney told Radio World that ASRs are a frequently overlooked detail in the purchase or sale of a radio or TV station. Many stations apparently have tower registrations that still list the prior owners.