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Tower Updates Kick In Oct. 24

FCC changes updates rules for tower construction, painting and lighting

Most of the changes to update the FCC’s tower rules take effect Oct. 24.

The updating of Part 17 rules regarding tower construction, painting and lighting began 10 years ago, we reported.

The order adopted in August by the commission will improve lighting outage notification requirements, standardize repair timelines and harmonize FCC requirements to maintain painting with FAA guidelines. Though the commissioners had easier deployment of wireless towers in mind, the changes affect broadcast tower owners and licensees as well.

Perhaps the biggest change for broadcasters — tower owners that have “robust, continuous” remote monitoring systems connected to a network operations center staffed 24/7 can apply for a waiver of quarterly physical inspections of tower marking and lighting systems. American Tower told the FCC that it estimates the company spends approximately $1.7 million/year to conduct required inspections — even though it has a monitoring system.

Owners will be allowed to give tenants antenna structure registration information via mail, email or other electronic methods. The agency removed notification “by telephone or telegraph” from its rules.

Some rules, involving Sections 17.4, 17.48 and 17.49, still need approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

Federal Register publication triggered the effective date.