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LBA: AM/Wireless Collocation Could Ease Spectrum Squeeze

Mr. Behr goes to Washington to reiterate his ideas on collocating wireless infrastructure on AM towers.

LBA Group has promoted the idea of collocating wireless antennas on AM towers for years and now it appears the FCC is listening as it searches for possible ways to ease what Chairman Julius Genachowski has called a spectrum crunch related to the broadband rollout.

Company CEO Lawrence Behr has long advocated collocation to better use radio towers and as a response to community resistance to more wireless and mobile communications towers.

At the FCC’s invitation, Behr and LBA VP Sales Mike Britner met in December with commission staffers and representatives of radio stations, law firms, engineering firms and tower companies to discuss the concept. Working with LBA’s Washington communications counsel Don Evans of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, Behr proposed that the FCC identify AM towers as part of the solution to wireless siting shortages, according to a release from LBA.

He proposed educational initiatives and FCC incentives to encourage wireless and AM executives to embrace co-location, according to LBA.

Specifically, Behr suggested the FCC:
• Promote collocation as a legal and practical strategy for wireless and AM executives

• Require expedited local action on co-location requests

• Give a regulatory fee discount for AM stations that host wireless antennas

• Streamline the STA process where an AM station needs it

New England radio station owner Bob Vinikoor, who has 15 wireless antennas on three radio station towers, endorsed the Behr proposal, according to LBA.

The FCC did not give a date for its response to the presentation.