Need a telecom attorney [Telecom]

I'm looking for an attorney in the Philadelphia area who specializes in land easements. We have a telecom company looking to put some antenna's, and I guess transmitters on our property and want someone to review the agreements. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Michael Muderick

***** Moderator's Note *****

Michael, you're a very wise man.

IANAL, and I'm sure the readers will offer suggestions, but let me add these suggestions to get you started:

  • How many antennas? How man transmitters? (It's NOT a one-to-one relationship!)
  • For _their_ radios only, or for everyone's radios? Be _very_ careful here: there are a lot of FCC and other rules that override contracts, and you have _got_ to get a lawyer who knows about them. The contract might say it's only for "Company A", but then you might see antennas go up for companies B, C, and D, and Company A will just shrug their shoulders and say "The FCC made us do it". If your contract doesn't cover this, you may find out that, for practical purposes, you've sold your land to company A's tower leasing subsidiary.
  • Will there be other services on the pole? Don't take any carp about this: you're entitled to be paid for _every_ transmitter and _every_ antenna, no matter how blandly the tellco asures you it's "just for control" or "that's only a spare".
  • Taxes? Who pays when they go up?
  • Will you need a zoning variance? Will it alter your home/land tax status?
  • What about hazardous waste? Who cleans up? How quickly?
  • Who installs and maintains fences?
  • Who pays for insurance? What does it cover? Who does it benefit? If someone's child falls off the side of the tower, they'll sue _you_, because most common carriers enjoy immunity from "attractive nuisance" tort claims.
  • Get the access rules nailed down right at the start. Although the lease holder will insist on 24/7 access for maintenance, you _are_ entitled to negotiate days and hours during which they can do new contruction, additions, painting, etc.

That's just a start. Here's the most important advice: do _not_ hire an attorney who doesn't do this full time. Forget the one with the office next to the courthouse, ignore your second cousin, and don't even think about the bozos you see advertising on TV. You need a firm that does _only_ towers, and one with a track record of successful actions against common carriers.

Of course it will cost more. That's part of the price you're going to charge them for the lease. Trust me, they can afford it.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

Please put [Telecom] at the end of your subject line, or I may never see your post! Thanks!

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