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California small cell ruling, iPhone 7 arrival … 5 things to know today

1. California cities have the right to block small cell permits based on aesthetic concerns, according to a state appeals court. Plaintiffs T-Mobile US, Crown Castle and ExteNet argued state law gives them the right to install equipment “in such manner and at such points as not to incommode the public use of the road or highway,” meaning infrastructure should be permitted as long as it does not block traffic. The court disagreed and ruled in favor of San Francisco, which argued that the definition of “incommode” includes “inconvenience, discomfort and disturbance beyond mere blockage.”

San Francisco argued it needs to be able to block permits for aesthetic reasons because the city’s physical beauty is one of its most valuable assets. The city pointed out its property values and tourism industry are both directly impacted by the city’s physical appearance.

2. Verizon Communications appears to be headed for a showdown with New York City. The carrier has less than a month to respond to New York’s claims that Verizon has not kept its promise to bring fiber to every home. The city could sue Verizon if it is not satisfied with the carrier’s response. Verizon is saying it has worked hard to try to wire New York City, and it blames the city for not helping it get access to more buildings.

3. Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are in stores today, but lines are not as long as they have been for previous iPhones. That may be because more people who want to upgrade pre-ordered their new phones.

Smartphone teardown specialists are usually among the first to secure new iPhones, and today the team at Chipworks confirmed what many have predicted: Intel supplied the LTE modems for at least some versions of the new iPhones. Chipworks said the iPhone 7 it disassembled had an Intel baseband processor modem and two RF transceivers made by Intel. This phone was meant for the North American market, but was not a CDMA phone.

Meanwhile, Apple said it has fixed the iOS 10 bug that caused some T-Mobile US customers to lose their network connections. Some of the first T-Mobile US customers to download iOS 10 experienced the problem if they were using the iPhone 6, 6 Plus or 5SE. Yesterday, T-Mobile US advised customers not to download iOS 10 until the issue was resolved. Those who already downloaded the new operating system can fix the problem by going to “settings,” then “general” then “about.”

4. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to take advantage of Samsung’s offer to replace its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.
Many of those phones shipped with batteries that can catch fire while the phone is being charged, and most of the phones sold in the United States qualify for the recall. Consumers can turn in their phones for replacement models with batteries vetted by a third party, or they can get their money back.

The CPSC has created a website to help consumers through the recall process. In addition to contact information for Samsung, the site explains how to get information about the replacement phones from each of the four nationwide carriers. The site says that any Note 7 purchased before Sept. 15 should be considered unsafe.

5. The European Union is proposing a $133 million fund for free public Wi-Fi. If the proposal becomes law, communities can apply for grants by showing that they have a plan to provide high-speed internet access via Wi-Fi, and that they would not be competing with an existing public or private high-speed Wi-Fi service. The EU would fund the equipment and installation costs with vouchers, but local communities would need to find a way to pay the monthly subscription costs and maintain the equipment in good order.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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