A typical communication site setup in BLM California

Communication Sites

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers over 3,600 communications use facilities on approximately 1,500 sites across the eleven western states and Alaska. These facilities range from television and radio broadcasters to cellular and wireless broadband providers.

BLM administers its communications site program under right-of-way regulations contained in 43 CFR 2800, as well as policies established to supplement those regulations. One important aspect of BLM’s current regulations is the subleasing provision which allows Lessee’s to sub-lease space to other wireless providers without the need for additional authorizations from the BLM. For additional information on colocation, refer to 43 CFR 2806.36(a, b, & c).

Most communications use authorizations administered by BLM occur at geographic elevations areas known as communications sites.  Each communication site has one or more facility (buildings, towers, antennas, etc.) owned by private or governmental entities, and contain a variety of equipment within each facility.  Activities at each communications site are managed at the local BLM Field Office via a land use plan and a site-specific communication site management plan.

Proposed Communications Uses on Public Lands: When considering co-location opportunities on BLM- administered lands, contact the local Field Office to see if there is a communications site within the area you are considering.  Copies of communications site management plans are available for proponents seeking to operate at the site.  For new communication site builds, contact the local BLM Field Office to set up a pre-application meeting and be prepared to discuss your proposed facilities by filling out the Pre Application Checklist with as much information as possible.  The local Field Office can also direct users interested in co-location opportunities on developed sites.  Copies of communications site management plan are available for proponents seeking to operate at the site.  A completed SF-299 Application for Right-of-Way is required by BLM Field Office in order to process your application. (See BLM’s Right-of-Way webpage for additional information on the application process.)

Submit an SF-299 Application Electronically

Billing for Communications Uses:  The BLM has established a rental schedule, updated annually, for communication uses located in a facility authorized by a BLM right-of-way grant or lease. Rental amounts are based on the type of communication use and the population of the area served. 

Commsite Rental Fee Determination
The BLM uses a rent schedule to calculate the rent for communication site rights-of-way. The schedule is based on nine population strata (the population served), as depicted in the most recent version of the Ranally Metro Area (RMA) Population Ranking, and the type of communication use or uses for which we normally grant communication site rights-of-way. These uses are listed as part of the definition of “communication use rent schedule,” set out at §2801.5(b). You may obtain a copy of the current schedule from any BLM State, district, or field office or by writing: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003.

For authorized communications use holders, you may submit your Inventory Certification using the BLM Online Inventory Worksheet Submission Website. Submitting your form online saves time, and many of the data fields are pre-populated for you based on your lease/grant authorization number. The information provided is used to calculate your communication use rent for the upcoming calendar year.

Federal regulations contained in 43 C.F.R. 2806.31(c) require a holder of authorizations for communication use facilities located on public land to submit an Inventory Certification to the BLM each year listing the holder’s communication use, as well as any tenants and customers occupying the holder’s facility (building and/or tower) and the category of use for each tenant and customer as of September 30 each year.  The Inventory Certification must be received by the Communication Use Billing Team by October 15 of the same year.  Each August, the BLM Communications Site Billing team will send each holder a newsletter that provides additional guidance on how to submit the Communications Site Inventory Worksheet.

For more information:

For additional information about rental billing for your communications use, contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Communication Use Billing Team OC-371
Bldg. 50 Denver Federal Center
PO BOX 25047
Denver, CO 80225-0047
​Toll Free: 877-947-3705

National Initiatives:  On January 8, 2018, the President signed an Executive Order 13821, Streamlining and Expediting Requests To Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America, “to reduce barriers to capital investment, remove obstacles to broadband services, and more efficiently employ Government resources” in order to foster rural broadband infrastructure projects. The BLM has been in coordination with other agencies implementing the order, referred to as the Broadband Interagency Working Group, to streamline the application process.