Pole Attachments

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Open Internet Rules Become Effective June 12: Impact on Pole Attachments

On Friday, June 12 – barring a judicial stay – many of the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules will become effective.  A significant consequence of the reclassification of retail broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a “telecommunications service” under Title II is the potential impact on pole attachment fees cable operators pay in FCC-regulated states, as well as in the handful of states that have adopted a telecom rate formula.  In ...Continue Reading

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FCC Sets Stage for Supplemental Changes to the Federal Telecom Pole Attachment Rate Formula – Comments due June 4

Today, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice seeking to refresh the record on a Petition for Reconsideration filed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), COMPTEL, and tw telecom in June 2011 seeking to change certain aspects of the FCC’s new telecommunications pole attachment rate formula to make the telecommunications and cable pole attachment rates equivalent even when the number of attaching entities differ from the Commission’s presumptions. Without ...Continue Reading

Wireless

Advisory Alert: FCC Updates Network Outage Reporting Requirements

On March 30, 2015, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making, Second Report and Order, and Order on Reconsideration (Order).  The Order updates the FCC’s “Part 4” network outage reporting rules to reflect technological advancements in wireless and wireline networks.  It also responds to petitions for reconsideration and requests for rulemaking, some of which have been pending for nearly 11 years.  While the Order is largely technical in ...Continue Reading

California

California PUC to Hold Workshops in November to Discuss Wireless Pole Attachment Issues

As an update to our May 7 blog entry about the California Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”)’s rulemaking to consider if its existing rules for nondiscriminatory access to poles, conduits and rights-of-way should be amended to include Commercial Mobile Radio Service (“CMRS”) carriers (“Rulemaking”), the PUC recently announced that it will hold informational workshops on November 4 and 5 to discuss CMRS access issues.  Informational reports describing the size, type, load and ...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

fiber

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

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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

California

Google’s Pole Attachment Rights in California on Hold for Now

The California Public Utilities CPUC (CPUC) released a Proposed Decision on February 20, 2015 denying a petition by Google Fiber Inc. (Google) to modify the CPUC’s Video Service Provider Decision or DIVCA Order.  Google’s proposed modification would have allowed it and all other state-franchised video service providers (VSPs) the right to access utility poles, ducts and rights-of-way under the terms of the CPUC’s 1998 ROW rules.  Those rules, which were ...Continue Reading