Petition for NM legislators to vote NO! on the 2018 Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act

New Mexico Senators and Representatives

Basis for the Petition

Around the U.S., telecom lobbyists are pressuring municipal governments to pass bills like The Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act (WCAIIA) proposed in New Mexico. If legislators enact WCAIIA in the 2018 session, then New Mexicans can expect thousands of new cellular antennas per city. Antennas and cabinets that contain their accompanying gear and air conditioning units would be installed on public right-of-ways (PROWs) such as lamp posts, traffic lights and rooftops. Santa Fe could expect 1000-1500 new antennas. Albuquerque could expect 7500. Las Cruces could expect 3000.*

If the WCAIIA passes, New Mexico cities would not be allowed to charge rent for telecom corporations' access to public right-of-ways. Taxpayers pay for traffic lights, lamp posts, government building rooftops and other PROWs. Typically, PROW-rental fees go to general funds that pay for police and fire. This bill would give telecom corporations compulsory access to New Mexico's PROWs at no charge. It would eliminate telecom corporations' leasing costs and increase their shareholders' profits.

Politicians should not shift industry expenses to taxpayers.

The industry calls PROW-mounted antennas "small" cells. Yet each comes with a refrigerator-sized cabinet. To keep their electronic gear cool, cabinets require air conditioning. During warm seasons, small cells mounted near bedrooms and offices would present unwelcome noise.

Cabinets of this size (28 cubic feet and up to seven feet tall) trash community aesthetics. They can block drivers' views of a street and violate ADA requirements of sufficient access for people in wheelchairs.

If this "Consumer" bill passes, the time for a municipality to review and approve or reject a permit request would be reduced to 20 days; and corporations would be allowed to submit multiple permit applications at once. Telecom industry requests would take precedence over all other development in New Mexico.

If the WCAIIA passes, rooftop workers could be exposed to radiation levels in excess of OSHA/FCC limits. We who value worker safety do not want a bill that would increase hazards to workers. As taxpayers, we also do not want our cities bankrupted by lawsuits from overexposed and injured workers.

California's governor vetoed a similar bill in October, 2017. In Ohio, 80 municipalities have sued their state for passing legislation similar to the WCAIIA, because it challenges "local government rights, constitutional authority and control of city property."

New Mexico's legislators face a clear choice: support the telecom industry or vote NO so that our citizens can maintain local authority over telecom facilities.

* To determine the number of "small" cell antenna placements that each city can expect, multiply the city's square miles times the number of telecom corporations providing service (figure at least four) times ten (the number of "small" cells each corporation can install per square mile). Santa Fe is 37.4 square miles.

Petition by
Katie Singer
Santa Fe, New Mexico

To: New Mexico Senators and Representatives
From: [Your Name]

We urge you to vote NO on the 2018 Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act (WCAIIA). New Mexicans must maintain local authority over telecom facilities placement as much as federal laws allow. The WCAIIA would take away our authority. The WCAIIA would prevent municipalities from charging rent to telecom corporations for access to public right-of-ways (PROWs), even though no federal or state law requires New Mexicans to relinquish PROW-leasing income. (Typically this income goes to a general fund that pays for police and firefighters.) The WCAIIA would shorten the time that a municipality must respond to a telecom corporation's permit request to 20 days, even though no federal law requires shortening this clock. As a consequence, telecom developments would take precedence over all other New Mexico development. If you pass the WCAIIA, New Mexicans can expect thousands of new cellular antennas and noisy cabinets (holding electronic gear and air conditioning units) on public right-of-ways. Passage of the WCAIIA would remove local control over this noisy neighborhood nuisance. We urge you to vote NO on the Wireless Consumer Advanced Infrastructure Investment Act.