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Florida Internet & Television Association

Intro

Florida’s Cable and Broadband companies invest millions in Florida to maintain, repair and upgrade their wired networks. Competition in the communications marketplace puts an enormous strain on capital expenditures and operating budgets.  Burdensome and unnecessary local regulations and permitting requirements result in unhappy customers and the loss of new business.   The Florida Legislature in 2017 passed legislation to streamline and expedite the issuance of rights of way permits for the installation of “small wireless facilities” and related antenna to hasten the deployment of 5G technology in Florida. This included a “60 day shot clock” for local governments to approve permits for these facilities or the permits would be deemed approved under state law.

As hundreds of local governments across Florida adopted new ordinances to implement this new law, Florida’s Cable and Broadband companies found their permits being unduly delayed as local governments claimed by law they had to process the “wireless” applications for competing providers within the “60 day shot clock,” but that this expedited requirement did not apply to “wireline” permits.  This interpretation became a pervasive problem across the state costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in delays and lost business opportunities.

Objectives

  • Help FIT by addressing unnecessary regulations and ensuring the permitting process is applied fairly to all communications companies.

Action Taken

In 2019, Charlie Dudley and the Floridian Partners team led a success effort to substantially rewrite Florida’s rights of way law as it applies to “all communications companies.” The rewrite included the complete repeal of the requirement for permitting in many circumstances (repair, routine maintenance, upgrades, customer connections) and applied the “60 day shot clock” to “wireline” permits in addition to “wireless.”

Outcome

These legislative changes will enable and hasten the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new technology deployment across the state with minimal regulatory and permitting costs saving time and money for the companies.