At the request of two companies – American Tower Corporation (ATC) and Global Signal, Inc. (Global) – that own thousands of towers subject to the FCC’s Part 17 lighting requirements, the Commission has agreed to waive the requirement that each of those towers be inspected at least every three months to confirm that their lighting systems are operating properly. ATC and Global were able to convince the Commission that their respective automatic monitoring systems provide adequate safeguards against undiscovered outages. As a result, instead of quarterly (i.e., at least every three months) inspections, ATC and Global now must inspect all their towers annually.

ATC relies on the Eagle Monitoring System developed by Flash Technology. Global monitors with a system designed by Hark Tower Systems, Inc. Both systems include alarm notifications sent to alarm response center, automatic 24-hour polling of all tower sites, and capability for manual contact and diagnostic review of any tower on the system. All of this is coordinated through primary and backup network operations call (NOC) centers.

In granting the waivers, the Commission noted that it already has in the pipeline a rule making proposal to exempt from the quarterly inspection requirement monitoring systems using NOC-based technology. The waivers will be subject to whatever action the Commission ultimately takes on that proposal.

In the meantime, the Commission has made clear that it will consider waiver requests from others using monitoring systems with characteristics similar to the Eagle and Hark systems.