FCC makes life easier for tower owners


Broadcast TowerTower licensees are required to make quarterly inspections of the facilities to make sure all of the elements associated with lighting are functioning properly. However, the FCC is recognizing that technology allows “robust monitoring” of functionality, and is expediting processing of waivers to reduce inspection frequency to once a year.

The move comes as a result of a waiver request from Diamond Communications and its related companies. It said that its annual estimated expense to comply with the quarterly inspection regimen was $105K and 2,000 person-hours.

Diamond said that inspections of that frequency “…have been rendered unnecessary for its towers that employ the Flash Technology Tower Monitoring System.

The FCC, which granted a similar waiver to Global Tower back in 2008, agreed, and has granted Diamond’s request.

Furthermore, on its own motion, the FCC stated it is ready to expedite the same waiver to any tower company that can demonstrate similar robust monitoring capability.

In announcing the grant of the Diamond waiver, the FCC stated, “We further establish an expedited process for other users of the FTTMS to obtain similar waivers. The FTTMS reliably diagnoses problems, including any failures of control devices, indicators and alarm systems, within real time, and therefore renders strict application of the rule unnecessary to serve its underlying purpose. Moreover, our action will relieve Diamond and potentially other users of the FTTMS of the burden of performing unnecessary quarterly inspections. In addition, granting Diamond a waiver, as well as implementing an expedited waiver process for other tower owners that employ the FTTMS, will further encourage tower owners to invest in state-of-the-art technologies so that they too will become capable of continuous monitoring of both their lighting systems and control devices.”

It has also opened up an NPRM on the topic.

RBR-TVBR observation: Bravo, FCC! We find it refreshing that the Commission has recognized the existence of new technology and is taking proactive steps to save the money of the companies it regulates.