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

Category Archives: Fiber Networks

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Is Dark Fiber a Regulated Service?

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

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… Continue Reading

Are REITs a Viable Strategy for Communications Companies?

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

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… Continue Reading

Areas Eligible for Rural Broadband Experiments Funding Announced

Posted in Fiber Networks, General, Wireless

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… Continue Reading

Leveraging Next Generation Networks To Change The Healthcare Model

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

Davis Wright Tremaine is conducting a series of webinars under the heading “Reinventing the Hospital.”  The purpose of the series is to address “disruptive changes in healthcare” that “are transforming the way hospitals do business” by discussing “the latest developments” to show “where innovation is thriving” and to “offer a blueprint for where hospitals can… Continue Reading

FCC Allocates $100 Million for Rural Broadband Experiments –Agency Will Reward Providers That Can Deliver Broadband at Speeds up to 25 Mbps (up) / 5 Mbps (down)

Posted in Fiber Networks, General, Wireless

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the FCC adopted an order implementing its planned “Rural Broadband Experiments”—a test-case program for disbursing subsidies to competitive providers that can deploy broadband to unserved areas. Our prior advisory provides additional background for interested readers. The order has not yet been released by the FCC, but according to an agency… Continue Reading

FCC Turns Up the Heat (and the Risk of Overbuilds) With Start of Process to Disburse $9 Billion in Broadband Subsidies Under CAF Phase II

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

The dog days of summer are here, but this is no time for broadband providers to escape to the shore or mountains for an extended vacation because the FCC is set to begin the process of handing out $9 billion (over five years) in subsidies to bring broadband to unserved areas. The initial disbursements of… Continue Reading

Guidance Issued for Connect America Fund Phase II Challenge Process

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

On June 20, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice providing additional guidance on the Connect America Fund Phase II challenge process, which we described in a prior DWT advisory.  Noting that a lack of similar guidance during the Phase I challenge process led to a process favoring existing providers, the Bureau now… Continue Reading

Competitive Providers One Step Closer to Support for Rural Broadband Deployment Following Latest FCC CAF Phase II Order

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

Yesterday, the FCC released its long-awaited order establishing a framework for competitors to obtain broadband subsidies (support) through Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF).  The 212-page Order and Further NPRM sets forth the framework for competitive providers (including cable operators, CLECs, and fixed wireless ISPs) to bid for support to deploy broadband and… Continue Reading

Magic Words to Preserve an Interest in an IRU?

Posted in Fiber Networks

Previously on this Law Advisor, I questioned whether an IRU is really an IRU. In particular, after peeling back the layer of the IRU onion, what really is it? I suggested that an IRU is a capital lease with the right to quiet enjoyment. I went on to state that in only one instance of… Continue Reading

Protecting Against the Ill Effects of a Default

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

It is a bit unsettling to think that part way through a broadband deployment, you can be left high and dry because the vendor can no longer sustain its operations.  Yet, it seems like many broadband deployment transactions have as a concern the financial health of the vendor.  There are, however, a few tools to… Continue Reading

Building a Broadband Network

Posted in Broadband Deployment, Fiber Networks, General

Recently, I participated on a panel at the Annual Meeting of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, otherwise known as SHLB.  The panel was entitled “Building a Broadband Network” and was comprised of experts who discussed the business case for such networks and their design, construction, operation and maintenance.  Of no surprise, all of… Continue Reading

Is An IRU Really An IRU?

Posted in Fiber Networks, General

Everyone talks about indefeasible rights of use, or IRUs, as if they are unique or special.  Reams of FCC and state regulatory orders have been written on them as have fiber agreements, both large and small.  Those statements, however, usually take IRUs for granted.  In other words, they assume  that everyone knows what they are and… Continue Reading

Federal Funding Available for Building Broadband Networks for Health Care

Posted in Broadband Deployment, Fiber Networks

Many healthcare providers (HCPs) do not have access to broadband facilities that are capable of supporting bandwidth-hungry telemedicine applications – either because it is simply unavailable or too expensive. Congress recognized this problem when it created the Health Care Support component of the Universal Service Fund. In December 2012, the FCC changed the program to… Continue Reading