Pole Attachments

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FCC Enforcement Bureau Stays Pole Attachment Complaint Proceeding Pending Completion of Arbitration

In a March 16, 2015 Letter Ruling, the Market Disputes Resolution Division of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau granted a request by Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (“Duke”) for a stay in a pole attachment complaint proceeding brought by Frontier Communications of the Carolinas LLC (“Frontier”) so that the parties might complete arbitration of the dispute, as directed by a federal district court. After Duke filed an arbitration demand over unpaid pole rent ...Continue Reading

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

Wireless

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

Mailboxes

Areas Eligible for Rural Broadband Experiments Funding Announced

On July 25, the FCC released the list of eligible areas for its $100 Million Rural Broadband Experiments program, the details of which are summarized in our recent Advisory. The list includes the following key information: the state and county of each census block, along with its tract and block identification numbers; the number of locations in the census block, including locations served by rate-of-return carriers and price cap carriers; the number of price ...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

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