Pole Attachments

FCC Proposes To Overhaul Procedural Rules Applicable To Pole Attachment Complaints

On September 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would significantly change the procedural rules governing formal pole attachment complaint proceedings filed under Section 224 of the federal Communications Act (47 U.S.C. § 224). The FCC has included the proposed changes in a broader rulemaking aimed at consolidating, revising, and streamlining rules currently governing formal complaints for pole attachments (Section 224), common carriers (Section ...Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Affirms FCC’s 2015 Order Equalizing Cable and Telecom Pole Attachment Rates

On Monday, July 31, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in a unanimous opinion, affirmed the FCC’s November 2015 Order on Reconsideration closing the “telecom formula loophole” to ensure that pole attachment rates for cable and telecom attachers are equivalent. In the FCC’s 2011 Order that was upheld by the D.C. Circuit, the FCC sought to align the telecom pole rate formula with the cable formula. In the 2011 Order the FCC added ...Continue Reading

Wireless

FCC Expands on Bidding Procedures in Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II Auction Webinar

Signaling a clear commitment to a successful reverse auction process for the Connect America Fund (“CAF”) Phase II proceeding, members of the FCC’s Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force hosted a webinar yesterday that provided an overview of the CAF Phase II application requirements, and an in-depth review of the bidding procedures for this first of its kind reverse auction. As we have outlined in prior advisories, the CAF Phase II auction will distribute ...Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Affirms FCC’s 2015 Order Equalizing Cable and Telecom Pole Attachment Rates

On Monday, July 31, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in a unanimous opinion, affirmed the FCC’s November 2015 Order on Reconsideration closing the “telecom formula loophole” to ensure that pole attachment rates for cable and telecom attachers are equivalent. In the FCC’s 2011 Order that was upheld by the D.C. Circuit, the FCC sought to align the telecom pole rate formula with the cable formula. In the 2011 Order the FCC added ...Continue Reading

MDU Access

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

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

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 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

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