Streamlined Pole Attachment Rules Now in Place

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The FCC’s revised pole attachment rules went into effect this week. The agency voted on the changes in August 2018. At the time, Commissioners said the changes would speed safe and affordable broadband deployment. The agency adopted a new framework for the vast majority of pole attachments governed by federal law by instituting a ‘‘one-touch make-ready’’ (OTMR) regime, in which a new attacher, usually the last, may choose to perform all simple work to prepare a pole for new wireline attachments in the communications space.

The new framework includes safeguards to promote coordination among parties and ensures that new attachers perform the work safely and reliably. Additionally, it provides for a remedy if an original attacher is unhappy with the outcome.

The Commission retained the existing multiparty pole attachment process for other new attachments that are complex or above the communications space of a pole. But the agency made significant modifications to speed deployment, promote accurate billing, and expand the use of self-help for new attachers when attachment deadlines are missed.

The item allows “pole overlashing” so all existing pole space is used. It ensures telecoms pay rates comparable to cable and other industries for pole use. Considered by many to be a key element, the item bans state and local moratoria preventing wireless infrastructure deployment. Federal Register publication triggered the May 20 effective date.

May 24, 2019

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