Wireless technology is here! Across the country, the demand for wireless service from consumers and business interests continues to increase. Wireless transmission sites are being deployed to meet this demand. Wireless service providers have installed more than 250,000 [footnote 2] transmission sites nationwide with wireless subscriber connections increasing by nearly 200 million in the first decade of the 21st century.[footnote 3]
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) estimates that as of December 2010, there were 302.9 million wireless connections in the U.S. and 26.6 percent of U.S. households were "wireless only."[footnote 4] Telecommunications should be viewed as necessary infrastructure. The technology and the companies providing it are protected to some degree under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The two principal participants involved in the siting of personal wireless service facilities (PWSF) are local governments and wireless industry representatives; and the two are frequently at odds. One of the reasons for this is that each feels that its role serves the greater public good and that the other group threatens to undermine its work. Local governments must make sure that they have a regulatory process in place that will adequately handle the complexities associated with the siting of PWSFs. This often makes the difference between an inappropriate facility and negotiating a design that has minimum impact and maximum benefit for the community.