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Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports (2021)

Chapter: ACRP LRD 43 Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports

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Suggested Citation:"ACRP LRD 43 Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26366.
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Background Th ere are over 4,000 airports in the country and most of these airports are owned by governments. A 2003 sur- vey conducted by Airports Council International–North America concluded that city ownership accounts for 38 percent, followed by regional airports at 25 percent, single county at 17 percent, and multi-jurisdictional at 9 percent. Primary legal services to these airports are, in most cases, provided by municipal, county, and state attorneys. Research reports and summaries produced by the Airport Continuing Legal Studies Project and published as ACRP Legal Research Digests are developed to assist these attorneys seeking to deal with the myriad of legal problems encountered during airport development and operations. Such substantive areas as eminent domain, environmental concerns, leasing, contracting, security, insurance, civil rights, and tort liability present cutting- edge legal issues where research is useful and indeed needed. Airport legal research, when conducted through the TRB’s legal studies process, either collects primary data that usually are not available elsewhere or performs analysis of existing literature. Foreword Airports face a multitude of issues related to telecommu- nications, an area that requires airports to have a depth of knowledge of the subject and the relevant regulatory requirements. Technologies include cell phone towers and new 5G small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS), fi ber (for airport use, tenant use and just pass- ing through airport property), and wireless Internet con- nections. Telecommunications are ever changing and are also growing, especially with the implementation of 5G. Most airports will face these issues and will benefi t from this guidance on how to approach the legal frame- work to ensure compliance. Th is digest examines the federal regulatory requirements and best practices for the various aspects of telecommunications at airports, important emerging trends, and current issues. Th ese include, but are not limited to, regulations imple mented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Th e digest also describes alternative approaches on inter- actions with various telecommunications companies and the types of business deals and legal provisions, the interplay with state and local ordinances, and a sum- mary of relevant resources. Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports This digest was prepared under ACRP Project 11-01, “Legal Aspects of Airport Programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is the agency coordinating the research. Under Topic 13-01, this digest was prepared by Sean Cusson, Del Ray Solutions LLC, Alexandria, VA. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this digest are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The responsible program offi cer is Theresia Schatz. OCTOBER 2021 AIRPORT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM ACRP LRD43 LEGAL RESEARCH DIGEST

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The deployment of telecommunication systems, management of networks, and dealings with telecommunication or information service providers, airlines, other tenants, concessionaires, and passengers create multiple legal issues for airport operators.

The Airport Cooperative Highway Research Program's ACRP Legal Research Digest 43: Legal Considerations for Telecommunications at Airports examines federal requirements for various aspects of telecommunications at airports, including both current issues and those implicated by emerging trends.

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