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GSA Partners with Wireless Communications Industry to Meet Growing Demand for Mobile Communication Antenna Sites

GSA #9497

June 26, 1998
Contact: Bill Bearden or April Kaufman
(202) 501-1231


Agency's National Antenna Program Fosters Innovation and Saves Tax Dollars


WASHINGTON, DC -- As telecommunications experts predict that more than 100,000 new sites will be required for mobile personal communications antennas by the year 2000, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is partnering with industry to help to fill the demand for sites with an innovative nationwide program.

Under its National Antenna Program, GSA has signed leases with industry to place new mobile personal communications antennas on the rooftops of 67 government-owned buildings, generating over $1 million a year that helps GSA operate and maintain public buildings. While returning needed dollars back to the government, the program also helps industry provide improved service to the rapidly growing number of personal communications services customers.

David J. Barram, GSA Administrator, said, "Our National Antenna Program brings out the best instincts in government by creating a public-private partnership that is innovative, saves tax dollars and helps foster improvements in the telecommunications industry."

Barram made the remarks this morning at GSA's 1998 Antenna Awards Ceremony, which celebrated the agency's million-dollar revenue milestone reached by the GSA Antenna team and GSA leasing specialists.

"GSA's National Antenna Program has made possible the expansion of the nation's wireless communications industry," said Jay Kitchen, President of the Personal Communications Industry Association. "GSA has enabled private sector service providers to meet their growing demand by making antenna sites available nationwide. This program is an example of government and industry working together to provide our citizens with improved communication services."

The program offers industry several advantages. First, GSA's inventory of 1,900 government-owned facilities provides nationwide sites to lease to qualified providers and carriers. Located in nearly every metropolitan area, most facilities have 24-hour security, minimizing the threat of vandalism or theft. In addition, GSA's guidelines for antenna siting and lease contracts have been streamlined to reduce time and paperwork and to satisfy industry needs quickly. Finally, GSA's national network of highly-trained antenna leasing specialists can easily coordinate antenna-siting needs with qualified providers.

Launched in 1989, GSA's National Antenna Program received a boost in 1995, when President Clinton signed an Executive Memorandum directing federal agencies to assist the wireless communications industry in locating and securing sites for antennas. Moreover, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 encouraged the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies nationally.

To maintain the agency's aggressive outreach efforts, a series of forums were held with Federal agencies and industry representatives which streamlined the outleasing process and contributed to the development of the Information Superhighway. Federal Property Management Regulation Bulletins have also been created to assist Federal agencies in their antenna outleasing efforts.

In addition, GSA officials continue to work closely with the House Commerce Committee on proposed legislation which would allow agencies currently retaining proceeds from antenna siting and lease contracts to continue to do so and give agencies without this authority the ability to recover expenses they incur in processing requests for and providing access to antenna sites.

The program is part of GSA's Retail Tenant Services Center, which leases space to private firms for commercial use in federal property controlled by GSA. Examples include leasing space for retail stores, restaurants, rooftop antennas, parking, financial services, office space and pay telephones.

For more information, visit http://www.gsa.gov/pbs/antenna.htm to view a listing of antenna sites and regional representatives.