PROTEC Membership: What it Means

Each municipal member of PROTEC adds to the political and financial strength of PROTEC, as well as in turn, the political and financial strength of each and every one of our members, as we defend all of our Municipal Rights of Way (ROW) interests together.

PROTEC, since 1996 has served as an information gathering, dissemination and education access point for our 100 members and for policy makers in various capacities in the Executive, Administrative, Legislative and Judicial Branches of State and Federal Government. We also reach many industries who utilize our ROW. Finally, we reach, share and coordinate with many communities who are not current members, both in Michigan and across the country. All in the interest of protecting local community interests in our ROW.

In response to the needless complexities imposed on Michigan communities by the Small Wireless Facilities Act of 2018 (the “Act”), PROTEC developed a model ordinance designed to allow local communities to reasonably regulate the deployment of small cells in compliance with the Act while awaiting pending hoped-for improvements to the Act, whether through legislation or litigation.

Today, we continue to lead Michigan communities in addressing that same telecom industry, as well as opposing proposals such as ITC’s 100 foot electric transmission towers and lines right down community main streets, as well as the ROW inroads being attempted by the pipeline industry.

The Model Ordinance was part of PROTEC’s practice of identifying and coordinating large projects such as litigation or concerted education of state or federal policy makers. These occasions require action by PROTEC beyond its normal day to day educational activities and may extend beyond PROTEC’s resources from annual dues. This typically requires the collaboration with and extra assistance of individual members to provide those additional resources to successfully advance our common interests. Examples include:

  1. Legislative negotiations over the Metro Act in 2002 and the Video Service Act of 2006;
  2. Litigation in 2008 challenging the Video Service Act and preventing Comcast from moving PEG channels to a digital 900’s channel range;
  3. Appeals of the numerous and unprecedented 2018/2019 FCC actions seeking to terminate local ROW control and fair market rents in favor of the wireless and cable industries; and
  4. Drafting Universal Documents for all municipals use, such as Franchises, Ordinances, Applications and Permits, as in the referenced case of the various “Small” Cell ROW issues.

Limitations: PROTEC is neither an insurer nor legal counsel to any particular member(s). While individual member issues often identify acute or emerging problems which PROTEC members generally have an interest in, and in those cases PROTEC may provide coordination with other interested members as well as general education, neither PROTEC nor its General Counsel can provide individualized legal or policy assistance of a substantive nature to individual members, absent a specific and additional written agreement, independent of PROTEC membership. In effect, PROTEC is typically the launch pad, not the rocket ship.