Verizon Tells FCC ‘One-Touch Make-Ready’ Will Speed Pole Attachment

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Verizon is lobbying the FCC in support of lessening barriers to fiber deployment and speeding review of small cell applications. In meetings with the Wireless and Wireline Bureaus, among others, Verizon discussed the need to deploy small cells and fiber quickly, to support network densification. The carrier secured a supply of fiber through its multi-year deals with fiber manufacturers like Corning. “But to make it a reality – and thus to support the investment and jobs that come with fiber expansion,” executives explained the company needs to hang small cells and string fiber to provide the necessary backhaul.    

“In some locations, local electric companies take nine months or more to complete the pole-attachment process, and we have often seen delays of twelve months or longer to get new fiber on a pole,” states Verizon Managing Associate General Counsel Katharine Saunders, in a filing describing the meetings. “We’ve found that the sequential nature of make-ready work means that one party’s delay in completing its make-ready work often delays other parties’ ability to begin their make-ready work.”

Verizon proposed a one-touch make-ready concept that would allow attachers, as well as pole owners, the option to use pole owner-approved contractors to coordinate and add a new attachment. Instead of multiple parties performing sequential make-ready work on the pole, a new attacher could use a single pole-owner-approved contractor to complete all of the work at one time. The proposal benefits attachers and pole owners by replacing multiple truck rolls with one and thereby speeding the attachment timeline and reducing aggregate make-ready costs, according to Verizon.

Under the proposal, the attaching party would have the responsibility for obtaining a survey and make-ready estimate and of notifying existing attachers that make-ready work will be performed, rather than shifting that responsibility to the pole owner. Contractors would be approved by the pole owner to perform work. “Under our proposal, the new attacher would be required to correct any deficiencies that the pole owner or existing attachers identify regarding the contractor’s make-ready work and the new attacher and approved contractor would indemnify for any harm caused by such work,” wrote Saunders.

Verizon is also finding some states and localities are using costs and procedures for macro-cells “improperly” to review small cell applications, including assessing excessive fees for access to rights-of-way or municipally owned poles. The carrier urged the Commission to adopt proposals that would create a shorter shot clock and a deemed granted remedy for small cell applications.

September 19, 2017

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