Pole Attachments

Law360 Publishes DWT’s Analysis of FCC Broadband Deployment Proposal

Law360 recently published an article authored by attorneys Maria Browne and John Seiver that analyzes the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to accelerate wireline broadband deployment.  The proposal was adopted at the FCC’s April 20 meeting. The article can be viewed here. Continue Reading

HighSpeed

The Need for Speed 2: FCC Releases Final NPRM to Accelerate Broadband Deployment

On April 21, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) released its final version of the combined Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Notice of Inquiry and Request for Comment  in the matter of Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Deployment (“Final NPRM”),  adopted at the FCC’s April 20 Open Meeting. The Final NPRM, designed to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of next generation broadband networks, generally tracks the Commission’s ...Continue Reading

Wireless

TowerDec14

FCC Releases Draft Item on Streamlining Wireless Infrastructure Deployment

On March 30, 2017, the FCC released a draft of a combined Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) and Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) (together, the “draft Notice”) designed to facilitate and accelerate the deployment of advanced wireless broadband service. The draft Notice was released in tandem with a notice focused on wireline broadband networks discussed here, and is part of Chairman Pai’s new practice of sharing drafts of items scheduled for ...Continue Reading

With USF Auctions Approaching, FCC Establishes Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force

On April 3, 2017, the FCC announced the formation of the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force to implement the upcoming Universal Service Fund (USF) related auctions.  Although there was no discussion of a task force in the recent Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II Auction Order or the Mobility Fund Phase II Order, the auctions will be relatively complex and are a high priority for the new FCC Chairman as ...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