Internet & Broadcasting Amendments

We are proposing updates to the Land Use Code to accommodate advances in two specific areas:

  • Internet service
  • Federal licensing for use of the airwaves by low power radio stations

 

Our proposal would change existing regulations to make it easier to place utility equipment boxes designed to improve internet, telephone, and video connections. Our proposal would also change regulations to make it easier for low power FM broadcasting facilities, licensed solely as non-profit entities and with a limited broadcasting reach, to put their antennas in suitable locations in all zones throughout the city.

Updating these rules will help create opportunities for greater access to high-speed internet and other services, and more opportunities for hobbyist and non-profits to operate low-power radio stations.

Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 23.57, Communications Regulations, was adopted as part of the Land Use Code under Ordinance 116295, effective in 1992. In the 23 years since Chapter 23.57 became part of the Code, technology has changed considerably.

Under our current regulations, telecommunication facilities of various types are allowed in all zones throughout Seattle. Telephone equipment, in particular, has long been a feature of the urban environment. Telephone equipment is more commonly located in the street or other public right-of-ways, rather than on private property, although this does happen. With the rise of widespread personal computer and cellular telephone use in the 1990s, the technology to deliver telephone service has changed considerably. While some of this equipment can be located in the right-of-way, increasing demand from customers has led to equipment installation on private property.

Current code standards for minor telecommunication facilities allow “FM translators” and “FM boosters with fewer than 10 watts transmitting power.” It is possible to interpret the existing regulations to classify low power FM radio facilities as minor telecommunications utilities. However, low power FM is essentially a new type of radio use.

For information see our Internet & Broadcasting Amendments webpage or contact:

Bill Mills
(206) 684-8738
william.mills@seattle.gov