HARRISBURG, Pa. – June 14, 2018 – A team of Public Utility and Litigation attorneys in Buchanan’s Harrisburg office reversed on appeal two Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) orders on behalf of client, Crown Castle, the nation's largest provider of distributed antenna systems (DAS) infrastructure, providing the company exemption from local zoning restrictions as a certified public utility in Pennsylvania. DAS operators provide a critical service that many wireless service providers rely on to meet the demands of the public for wireless services.

In March 2017, PUC issued a decision that reversed a decade of precedent under which DAS operators, like Crown Castle, were certificated as public utilities and therefore allowed to expand their networks in order to meet ever-increasing demand. Following Buchanan’s appeal, the Commonwealth Court issued a unanimous en banc opinion reversing PUC’s decision.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision to restore public utility status to Crown Castle and other DAS companies. They are now able to fulfill their agreements with wireless carriers and help meet the burgeoning demand for wireless services in Pennsylvania,” said Jayson R. Wolfgang, shareholder and head of Buchanan’s Harrisburg office.  

John “JP” Povilaitis, shareholder in the Energy and Utilities section, Jayson Wolfgang, shareholder and Kyle Meyer, associate, both in the Litigation section worked in partnership with litigators from Davis Wright Tremaine to obtain this result.

Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 60,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market.