Here’s Another Chance to Weigh In on Pole Attachments

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The public has more time to tell the FCC what they think about suggested clarifications to the agency’s pole attachment rules.

The deadline to file comments on a petition from NCTA—The Internet & Television Association (NCTA) is now September 2, and replies by September 17 (to docket 17-84). NCTA recently asked the Commission to declare that: (1) pole owners must share in the cost of pole replacements in unserved areas; (2) pole attachment complaints arising in unserved areas should be placed on the Accelerated Docket; and (3) the Commission is authorized to order a pole owner to complete a pole replacement within a specified period of time or designate an authorized contractor to do so.

The original filing deadline was August 19; The Edison Electric Institute, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and Utilities Technology Council asked for more time to consult with their members. Several utilities supported the request. The POWER Coalition argued the issues raised in the NCTA petition “will require utility pole owners to review and evaluate their current pole replacement practices, and the likely economic impact that NCTA’s proposals would have on utility operations, and electric ratepayers.” 

The group told the Commission that review and evaluation was delayed for four members because their personnel have been participating in “company-wide storm preparation and power restoration activities on the East coast.”

The NCTA petition is similar to one filed by CTIA a year ago. The FCC ruled last month that utilities can’t tell telecoms their power poles are off limits, Inside Towers reported. Crown Castle and AT&T complained that some utilities imposed blanket bans on certain types of equipment attachments to their poles with no explanation. The Wireline Competition Bureau anticipates its clarifications will allow attachers to better plan deployments.

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