Pole Attachments

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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

Arkansas Public Service Commission Adopts Comprehensive Set of Pole Attachment Rules

On June 24, 2016, the Arkansas Public Service Commission (“Commission”) adopted a comprehensive set of new pole attachment rules that apply broadly to providers of electric, telecommunications, cable television, internet access, and other information services, and govern access to telephone, electric distribution and dual-use transmission poles, as well as conduit, owned by the state’s investor-owned and cooperatively-organized utilities.  The rules were adopted pursuant to a year-long rulemaking that included dozens ...Continue Reading

Wireless

Ohio

Ohio Enacts Small Cell Deployment Measures: Limits Local Governments

On December 7, 2016, the Ohio Legislature passed Senate Bill No. 331, which, among other issues, would amend Ohio law to promote the prompt deployment of small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems (“DAS”) by significantly limiting local authority over wireless deployment in public rights of way.  On December 19, 2016, the Ohio Governor signed SB 331. We are likely to see legislation similar to the Ohio measure introduced in other states ...Continue Reading

TowerDec14

Wireless Shot Clock Decision Emphasizes Need for Meaningful Remedy

A recent decision by a federal district court in New York revealed the need for further action by the FCC or Congress to speed the deployment of wireless services demanded by consumers.  In Up State Tower Co., LLC v. Town of Kiantone, the Western District of New York held that the Town of Kiantone, NY, had failed to act on Up State Tower’s application to install a new wireless tower ...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