Pole Attachments

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

Warning sign

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

Wireless

A large icon of the WiFi sign in blue

Podcast: If Looks Could Kill … Your Wireless Siting Application

Many (most?) wireless siting applications that face opposition involve some level of NIMBYism – but you can’t just dismiss the NIMBY naysayers and move on.  In this episode, we identify some of the ways site aesthetics come into play in the application and hearing process and talk about some practical and legal approaches to dealing with the issue.  From spotting and complying with local code requirements that implicate aesthetics to ...Continue Reading

Tower5

Podcast: A Valuable Discussion About Property Values

Just about half of all American homes have cut the cord and rely only on wireless phones. Clearly, people see value in living near a cell phone tower. So how should you respond when you face opposition claiming that your proposed facility will negatively affect real estate values? In this episode, we’ll review some strategies for responding to complaints involving real estate values. Is the complaint really just a proxy for ...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

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

Warning sign

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

Mark calendar, planning

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