In an earlier blog post (available here), we discussed how the Commonwealth Court reversed the decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) to no longer issue certificates of public convenience to neutral host DAS (i.e. “distributed antenna system”) network operators. The PUC’s decision was based on its new interpretation of the statutory
Wireless service providers, such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T, are continually upgrading their networks given the ubiquitous nature of smart phones and the incredible growth of mobile data traffic. One technology that is being deployed to address this exponential growth and the resulting demand for additional network capacity is distributed antenna system (DAS) networks. A DAS network is a network of antenna nodes that are deployed to provide wireless coverage to indoor (e.g., arenas, airports, etc.) or outdoor areas. Some DAS networks are installed by companies that are not wireless service providers and are referred to as neutral host DAS networks since they provide the infrastructure (e.g., antenna nodes, fiber lines, etc.) that carries the wireless traffic of the wireless service providers.
In Pennsylvania, the Public Utility Commission (“PUC”) had recognized neutral host DAS network operators as public utilities and issued certificates of public convenience to the operators since 2005. …