Some States Regulate Pole Attachments Ahead of Court Case

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UPDATE West Virginia told the FCC that regulations have gone into effect governing pole attachments. Certification by a state preempts the Commission from accepting pole attachment complaints under Subpart J of Part 1 of its rules.

Pole attachment disputes are also part of oral arguments being heard today before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, Inside Towers reported. At least 30 cities, four counties and 11 powercos are fighting the FCC and the Department of Justice concerning local jurisdiction over small cells and the agency’s 2018 pole attachment order. 

The attachment order makes it easier for telecoms to move previously installed wires on utility poles. Some carriers say the change didn’t go far enough and that’s why they’re suing the Commission. 

In general, even when a state regulates pole attachments, jurisdiction reverts to the FCC in two instances – (1) if the state does not take action within 180 days of a complaint being filed, or (2) if the state fails to make a decision before it’s own deadline. 

The state’s action must not go beyond 360 days after a complaint was filed.

From time to time the Commission publishes a list of states that have certified they regulate pole attachments. The following states regulate the rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

This means the states consider the interests of consumers who are receiving services via attachments, as well as the interests of utility customers. This list supercedes one issued by the agency in 2010.

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