Site Hunting? - Meet Uncle Sam and Smokey the Bear

Real estate for telecom base station and cellular sites often seems to be a sellers' market. Nevertheless, service providers often overlook the biggest landlord of them all: the federal government. Nearly one-fifth of the continental United States is public land. Those who have already located on federal land should also stay aware of new rules and fee changes affecting their leases.

Federal landlords are mandated to support commercial and private radio buildouts nationwide. The 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act authorized the use of national lands for telecommunications uses. (This includes not only physical facilities but also rights-of-way.) The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires federal agencies to facilitate telecom siting on buildings and land they manage when it does not conflict with the agencies' missions or their uses of the properties. In urban areas, this makes the General Services Administration the landlord (federal buildings, post offices and the like). However, for rural and remote areas there are two major players: The U.

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