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Broadband Deployment Law Advisor Insight and Commentary on the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure

FCC Adopts One-Touch Make-Ready Rules and Declaratory Ruling Preempting State and Local Moratoria on Wireline and Wireless Deployment

Posted in Infrastructure (Poles, Conduit and Rights of Way), Pole Attachments, Wireless

The FCC, at its Open Meeting today, adopted its Third Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling (“Order”) in the wireline infrastructure docket which, among other things, implements one-touch make-ready (“OTMR”) and prohibits state and local moratoria on telecommunications services and facilities deployment. While the final text of the Order has not been released (only a news release so far), the commissioners’ remarks at the meeting provided insight concerning certain issues in the draft rules and declaratory ruling that were vigorously debated in ex partes leading up to the “sunshine period” before the meeting when all presentations to FCC decision-making personnel are prohibited. Specifically, Chairman Pai, referencing several quotes by Google Fiber at the meeting (and the day before in a release on “what they’re saying” about the draft Order), made clear that cable and ILEC industry efforts to obtain direct indemnification from new attachers moving their facilities, and to weigh in on what constitutes “simple” make-ready that can be performed by new attachers under the OTMR rules, would not be included in the final text. Commissioner Rosenworcel, dissenting in part and approving in part, cited concerns about these and other aspects of the OTMR order and the local moratoria declaratory ruling, remarking that she expected that the Order would not speed deployment but would instead result in increased disputes and litigation. Other proposed edits to the draft Order’s text – including those by pole owners relating to strand mounted wireless facilities and by the cable industry related to engineering costs – were not addressed by the Commissioners in their remarks, but may be in the final text.

We will continue to monitor this item and issue an update after the final text of the Order is released.