Pole Attachments

FCC Releases Text of Wireless and Wireline Infrastructure Orders

The Commission has released the final text of the Wireline R&O and Wireline FNPRM as well as the final text of Replacement Utility Poles R&O. Please see our advisory discussing the items as they were presented and modified at the Commission’s November 16, 2017, meeting as well as our earlier advisory that analyzed the drafts circulated by the Commission in October in advance of the November meeting. The final text of ...Continue Reading

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

Wireless

Mr. Right (of Way) – New Episode from In the Zone

Wireless deployment in the right-of-way is an increasingly hot topic. While the wireless infrastructure industry continues to work with municipalities, there are still hurdles to right-of-way deployment. The FCC and many states are actively considering ways to address municipal impediments and to speed wireless deployment. How did we get here, and where do we go from here? In this episode, Scott Thompson, a nationally-recognized expert on wireless infrastructure deployment, weighs ...Continue Reading

FCC Issues Draft Wireline and Wireless Infrastructure Orders and Further Wireline Rulemaking Notice ahead of November Meeting

On October 26, 2017, the FCC released drafts of a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the wireline broadband deployment docket (the “Draft Wireline Order” and “Draft Wireline FNPRM”) and a Report and Order in the wireless broadband deployment docket (the “Draft Wireless Order”). The release of these two items suggests that Chairman Pai will push broadband acceleration on an issue by issue basis – even ...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