PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association

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PCIA-The Wireless Infrastructure Association
PCIA is the national trade association that represents the companies, equipment and technologies enabling next-generation wireless.
Overview
Type Trade association
Industry Wireless infrastructure
Formation 1949
Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia
People
Chairman W. Benjamin Moreland
President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein
Executive Vice
President
Tim House
HetNet Forum
Director
Tracy Ford
Director, Government
Affairs
D. Zachary Champ
Government Affairs Counsel Van Bloys
Director of Meetings
and Events
Nancy Touhill
Member Relations
Manager
Caitlin Colligan
Resources
Official Website
2014 Wireless Infrastructure Show
HetNet Forum

PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association is an American trade association for wireless providers and companies that build cell phone towers, rooftop wireless sites, and other facilities that transmit wireless communication signals. The Washington Post described the industry as "the people who build all those cell towers so you can actually make those calls, download that data."[1] These technologies are collectively referred to as "wireless telecommunications infrastructure."[2][3][4]

Examples of companies that are members of PCIA include American Tower, Boingo Wireless, Graybar, SOLiD, and Advanced RF Technologies.[5][6] In all, member companies own and run more than 125,000 towers and antennas in the U.S.[7]

PCIA advocates for a variety of issues before the federal government, on topics such as broadband deployment (the act of building wireless broadband infrastructure in the United States), utility pole attachment (adding wireless signal components to utility poles that already exist), wireless network resiliency, public safety, and wireless competition.[8] Every year, PCIA hosts a trade show called the Wireless Infrastructure Show.[9]

People

The Chairman of PCIA is W. Benjamin Moreland, the CEO of Crown Castle International, a Pennsylvania wireless infrastructure company.[10] He has served in a number of executive-level positions at Crown Castle since 1999. Prior to that, he worked for Chase Manhattan Bank for 15 years.[11]

Jonathan Adelstein, a former FCC commissioner, is the President and CEO of PCIA.[12] Adelstein worked in public service for 25 years before joining PCIA.[2] In February 2014, Adelstein told C-SPAN that his goal was to bring wireless connectivity to everyone in the United States.[lower-alpha 1][14] Tim House is PCIA's Executive Vice President. Before PCIA, House worked in consumer product marketing at Discovery Communications.[15]

History

1949

Founding

PCIA was founded in 1949. The focus of the group has shifted as technologies have advanced. At various times throughout PCIA's history, it has focused on land mobile radio, paging, messaging, personal communications services, and tower and antenna siting.[16]

2012

Supreme Court

In 2012, PCIA submitted an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Arlington v. FCC. PCIA argued in support of the FCC in the case, arguing that local delays in approval of broadband projects are a national problem. The amicus curiae brief cited evidence that over 3,300 wireless service facility siting applications were pending before local jurisdictions throughout the country, and that around 180 of those applications had been pending for over three years.[7]

Collocation law

In 2012, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. The law included a provision related to the wireless infrastructure industry. Specifically, section 6409(a) of the law orders states and local governments to approve requests made by companies to collocate[lower-alpha 2] , remove or replace transmission equipment on existing wireless towers or base stations. The law included an exception: if the action substantially changes the physical dimensions of the tower or base station, then the law's protection doesn't apply.[18] The provision and the authority it prescribed is described by the wireless industry as "collocation-by-right".[19]
File:USMC-120920-M-IV598-002.jpg
Warriors 4 Wireless (W4W) aims to train and find jobs for 5,000 military veterans in the wireless industry by 2015. PCIA, DYNIS, Competitive Carriers Association, T-Mobile, MasTec, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are sponsors.[20]

2013

FCC and broadband deployment

In 2013, PCIA submitted comments to the FCC that expressed support in speeding up broadband deployment. PCIA helped Congress write legislation that funded broadband deployment. PCIA had asked Congress to include infrastructure providers in the list of eligible recipients of federal broadband funding. PCIA influenced members of the congressional committees that funded the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to make eligible wireless carriers, backhaul providers, and tower companies for funds.[21]

Warriors 4 Wireless

In 2013, Cisco, American Tower, Dynis, and PCIA created a program called Warriors 4 Wireless. The organization helps military veterans train and apply for jobs at wireless companies. The program's stated goal is to place 5,000 veterans in jobs by 2015. PCIA has pledged money to the program.[22][23]

New headquarters

PCIA is headquartered at 500 Montgomery Street in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2013, PCIA signed a 10-year lease onthee 5,300 square foot office space.[24]

2014

September 11 museum

In May 2014, the Orange County Business Journal reported that Mobilitie LLC, a PCIA member company[lower-alpha 3] , will build a distributed antenna system (DAS)a at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. The DAS at the museum will be the nation's largest. It will allow museum visitors to use their mobile phones, tablets and devices.[25]

Advocacy

For more information about trade associations, visit List of industry trade groups in the United States

One of the main issues facing the wireless infrastructure industry is related to federal vs. local oversight of wireless infrastructure activity.

Federal vs. local oversight

In a February 2014 article in National Law Review, Washington telecommunications attorneys Dave Thomas and Douglas A. Svor explained the issue and the battle played out between the wireless industry and local governments.

In their article, Thomas and Svor state that spectrum and infrastructure serve as the most important aspects of federal communications laws in terms of being good for the economy and American competitiveness. For decades, the FCC has worked to make sure that critical communications infrastructure can get built with as little hassle as possible.

In April 2014, the FCC proposed to simplify the regulatory review process for wireless facilities. These facilities include DAS and small cells (see Small cells and HetNet Forum below for more information).

Small cells are built smaller than traditional cells that are typically fixed to larege wireless antenna towers. Infrastructure companies attach small cells to utility poles, street light poles, and even traffic lights. The wireless industry has supported the FCC's work in the areas mentioned above, while local governments have typically been opposed.

Thomas and Svor wrote:[26]

List of major public policy issues for industry

Definitions and details for major legislative and regulatory issues
Issue Image Definition Details
Broadband deployment 150px Broadband deployment is the process of getting permission to build, and then building the infrastructure for broadband

The U.S. private sector spends $73 billion each year to build broadband.[27] PCIA wants the FCC to issue rulings known as "declaratory rulings". PCIA asked the FCC to use declaratory rulings to reduce barriers that make it difficult for companies to build wireless infrastructure. For example, if a telecommunications company installs equipment on a structure or tower, PCIA believes that other companies should be able to also install their equipment on that same structure or tower. PCIA wants the FCC to declare that it would be discriminatory for a tower operator to not allow other companies to install their equipment on the structure or tower, in the example just mentioned.[28]
FCC "shot clock" rules Lightmatter paperwork.jpg The FCC shot clock rules governs the length of time that local and state governments must process applications for certain cell towers. If two or more wireless providers share a cell tower, the state/local agencies must process the applications within 90 days. The agencies must process applications within 150 days for new cell towers.[29]
Public safety 150px According to PCIA, 70 percent of calls to 9-1-1 are made from wireless devices like cell phones and smart phones.[30] PCIA frames its advocacy work related to broadband deployment and speed in terms of public safety by arguing that "both citizens and public safety officials need access to wireless services anywhere and at all times."[30] The federal government, through its Broadband.gov website, says that investing in broadband will modernize public safety and homeland security communications. On the site, the government proposes a number of changes, including creating a nationwide public safety wireless communication network.[31]
Siting 150px Building a new wireless tower or putting an antenna on an existing tower or building is called "siting."[32]

PCIA has submitted briefings to various governmental bodies to make it easier for cell tower companies to build new towers.[7][16] Construction of a new cell tower requires a number of approvals, including approval from state and local government authorities.[32] On May 5, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case involving cell tower siting. The main issue in the case—T-Mobile South v. Roswell, Ga.—is whether a city that denies a siting permit must justify that denial. The case stemmed from the city of Rosell, Georgia, which had denied a tower license to T-Mobile. When Roswell denied the license, it did not give an explanation to T-Mobile. PCIA expressed its support of the Supreme Court making a decision on the issue.[33] Both PCIA and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have written suggested legislation for states to adopt to regulate tower siting.[lower-alpha 4]
Small cells 150px A small cell is a piece of equipment used for radio transmission that is typically low-powered. Wireless providers use small cells to improve the coverage of cell phones in small areas like buildings, homes, and neighborhoods.[34] For PCIA and its members, the main federal government issue regarding small cells is environmental. When companies build small cells, the federal government requires a review process. The process reviews the historical and environmental impact of the building. The wireless infrastructure industry wants the government to exclude small cells from that review process. The industry believes that small cells, due to their size, typically do not pose any significant issues that would warrant an historical or environmental review.[35]
Utility pole attachment 150px A utility pole is a pole, often made of wood or durable metals, that holds power lines and cables overhead.[36] Around 134 million poles exist in the U.S. The federal government controls use of some poles, while states control use of others.[37] Entities that build and own the utility poles have had partnerships with companies that use utility poles. The partnership has existed since the early 1900s and is referred to as "joint use." The company that rents space on the pole is often referred to as the attacher.[38] Section 224 of the Communications Act allows telecommunications companies to use utility poles. The law requires utility pole owners (usually utility companies) to charge reasonable rates for access to the poles. Section 703 of the 1996 Communications Act extended use of utility poles, and the provisions for reasonable rates, to wireless providers.[39] PCIA wants wireless infrastructure developers to be able to use (have access to) utility poles. The industry believes that because the poles already exist, infrastructure developers should use the poles when building new networks. The industry wants the FCC to make sure that regulations make it easier and more cost-effective for wireless infrastructure developers to use utility poles.[40]

HetNet Forum

File:Antennas of Distributed Antenna System in New York City subway.jpg
The DAS (pictured here) deployed in the New York City subway provides WiFi, cellular voice and data coverage.

HetNets, short for "Heterogeneous Networks", are a combination of technologies that make quality wireless broadband possible.[41] According to international communications company Ericsson, heterogeneous networks help wireless customers enjoy activities that require a large amount of data, such as watching streaming videos, uploading photos and using cloud storage services. HetNets use both radio and cellular technologies.[42]

To advocate for deployment of HetNet, PCIA runs a membership forum called the HetNet Forum. The purpose of the forum is to advance the development of heterogeneous networks in the United States, as well as to push policies related to distributed antenna systems (DAS),[lower-alpha 5] small cells, and fiber backhaul.[lower-alpha 6][45] Several major U.S. wireless carriers, such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, serve as governing members of the forum.[41]

Prior to April 2013, the HetNet Forum had been called the DAS Forum. PCIA changed the name to accommodate a growing membership that represented a more diverse group of technologies. Instead of running a forum focusing only on DAS, PCIA expanded the forum to focus on several technologies such as microcells, picocells, Wi-Fi and remote radio units, in addition to DAS. As of April 2013, about 60 companies participated as members in the HetNet Forum.[46]

Other trade associations, such as the Small Cell Forum, have competed with PCIA for members from the small cell industry.[47]

Criticism

In 2014, Senator Al Franken criticized the "revolving door" hiring placement of former FCC commissioners. Specifically, Franken criticized the hiring of FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker by Comcast. Franken did not mention PCIA in his remarks, but an OpenSecrets.org article covering the remarks mentioned the hiring of former Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein by PCIA.[48]

External links

Dictionaries and encyclopedias

Government documents

Literature

News

Technical guides

Video

PCIA website links

Website directories

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. Mr. Adelstein's comments are noteworthy when viewed in the context of President Obama's wireless connectivity goal. In the same month, the White House released documentation that said that President Obama had set a goal of connecting 99 percent of American students to high-speed broadband and wireless by the year 2019[13]
  2. Collocation is simply the act of placing something next to something else.[17]
  3. Mobilitie LLC is listed as a HetNet Forum participant on this registration list: [1]
  4. The PCIA model legislation can be found at Model State Wireless Telecommunications Facility Siting Legislation. The ALEC model bill can be found at Wireless Communications Tower Siting Act.
  5. A distributed antenna system, referred to as a DAS, is a network of small antennas installed throughout a building. The antennas serve as repeaters for wireless signals. A DAS is often used to improve poor wireless coverage inside large buildings.[43]
  6. Backhauling is the practice of sending data over a network in an "out of the way route" in order to get the data to its destination quicker or more cheaply. Backhauling can also refer to the practice of getting data to a point from which it can then be distributed to its intended targets. This latter definition often applies to satellite TV systems.[44]

References

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