PCIA joins ‘Colo Void Coalition’ in requesting change in FAA’s EMI evaluation process
PCIA, a Washington-based membership organization that defines itself as “the wireless infrastructure association,” has joined wireless infrastructure companies and wireless service providers in requesting the FAA consider the legal validity of and policy rationale for its current electromagnetic interference (EMI) obstruction process.
The Colo Void Clause Coalition asserts the existing procedure “places an unnecessary and substantial burden on tower owners, the wireless industry and the FAA without corresponding benefit in safety to the nation’s airspace.”
A letter sent by the coalition to the FAA requests that the agency “re-initiate its 12-year Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to review and validate procedures in accordance with the FAA’s statutory authority for ensuring airspace safety” and, on an interim basis, “clarify the scope of the EMI evaluation process and only require EMI filings in accordance with proposals outlined in the 1990 NPRM.”
In addition, the letter requests the FAA meet with the Colo Void Clause Coalition in discussion of this matter.
“This is an example of policy interpretation that has inadvertently gotten out of hand,” said Jay Kitchen, PCIA’s president.
“Tower companies now must file hundreds of notifications with the FAA per week, a burden for both tower companies and the FAA staff who must process them. Furthermore, the current policy discourages co-location of antennae on existing structures, which is perhaps the most efficient means for improving and increasing the wireless network without erecting new towers,” he said.
PCIA and members of the Colo Void Clause Coalition, led by Sprint, acknowledged the NPRM proposal on the subject of airspace protection was discussed but never adopted in 1990. Such proposals provide affected parties with certainty and guidance about the types of EMI reporting activity the FAA deems relevant to the safety of the nation’s airspace.
Current policy interpretation does not achieve the 1990 NPRM goal of “protect[ing] air navigation and communication aids from interference effects that may otherwise not need to be reported,” a statement issued by PCIA reads.
“We do not believe the intent of the original rules is being carried out, and the side effect is extremely burdensome for wireless infrastructure companies and the FCC,” Kitchen said. “This proposal is a win-win—taking steps to return to the original intent of the 1990 NPRM saves the industry time and money while freeing up the FAA to focus on pressing priorities like homeland security.”