Pole Attachments

FCC Approves ILEC Shift to GAAP Accounting, Mitigates Pole Rate Impact

At today’s open meeting the FCC adopted a Report and Order that streamlines and eliminates Part 32 accounting requirements governing price-cap carriers, allowing them instead to rely on GAAP accounting methods and thus eliminate the need to maintain two sets of accounting books. In doing so, however, the FCC acknowledged the important role that Part 32 cost data plays in calculating the maximum permitted rates that telecommunications carriers may charge ...Continue Reading

HighSpeed

FCC Chairman Pai Launches “Digital Empowerment Agenda” and Creates New Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee—Nominations Due Feb. 15

In one of his first acts as FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai announced he was moving forward with his Digital Empowerment Agenda accompanied by the announcement this past Tuesday that the FCC is forming a new federal advisory committee, to be called the New Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (“NBDAC”).  Then-Commissioner Pai had proposed the creation of such a committee, and the creation of “gigabit opportunity zones” last September to expand broadband ...Continue Reading

Wireless

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FCC Announces Details for Mobility Fund Phase II

The FCC adopted an order today that establishes Phase II of the Mobility Fund.  As we have previously reported, the FCC established the Mobility Fund to provide universal service subsidies to help expand and preserve 4G LTE mobile coverage in rural areas and Tribal lands across the country.  Through Mobility Fund Phase II, the FCC announced at its public meeting today that it will provide $453 million in annual universal ...Continue Reading

rural223

FCC Finalizes Criteria for CAF Phase II Auction

Today the FCC approved an order that moves the nearly two billion dollar Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II Auction competitive bidding process forward.   As we have previously reported, the Phase II auction will provide support (subsidies) to broadband providers willing to deploy broadband and voice services to unserved Americans.  The FCC will use four technology neutral service performance tiers and two latency tiers, to evaluate bids submitted by competing ...Continue Reading

MDU Access

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Disputes Over MDU Access Persist

You would be forgiven if you thought the status of exclusive agreements for exclusive broadband cable service to “multiple dwelling units” such as condominiums and planned communities (MDUs) was settled. In 2007, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a ruling broadly declaring that such exclusivity agreements are “null and void,” and adopted a rule that prohibits the enforcement or execution of “any provision in a contract that grants to it ...Continue Reading

Fiber Networks

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Is Dark Fiber a Regulated Service?

It may come as a surprise to know that the FCC (and the courts) have determined that dark fiber can be a regulated service. The FCC has found that leasing dark fiber is “wire communications” subject to its jurisdiction under Title II of the Communications Act because it “permits the transmission of information” and because “the provider of dark fiber still owns, maintains, and repairs the fiber and merely leases it ...Continue Reading

moneychart

Are REITs a Viable Strategy for Communications Companies?

Windstream Holdings, Inc. recently announced plans to spin off its copper, fiber and other fixed real estate assets into an independent publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).  Windstream received a private letter ruling from the IRS confirming the tax-free nature of the spin-off and the qualification of the network assets as real property for REIT purposes.  The transaction will reportedly save about $100 million per year in income taxes ...Continue Reading

State Activities

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California PUC Adopts Safety Enforcement Citation Program

On Dec. 1, 2016, the California PUC (CPUC) unanimously adopted Resolution SED-3, which implements a safety enforcement citation program for communications infrastructure providers (CIPs) including CLECs, cable operators, wireless providers, and facilities-based VoIP providers.  The citation program appears focused on violations pertaining to General Order (GO) 95 (aerial facilities) and GO 128 (underground facilities), but conceivably could be applied to any violation involving “communications facilities.” Safety Violation Corrections The program mirrors citation ...Continue Reading

Privacy and Cybersecurity

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Chairman Wheeler to Leave FCC Jan. 20

FCC Issues Clarification of Broadband Privacy Rules Deadlines Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler confirmed that he will resign effective January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day. With Commissioner Rosenworcel unlikely to be confirmed for a new term, this would leave the FCC with two Republicans (Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly) and one Democrat (Commissioner Clyburn). The majority in favor of the Republican Commissioners would enable the FCC to more easily overturn recent, controversial items. Additionally, ...Continue Reading