The FCC today adopted an order, declaratory ruling and notice of proposed rulemaking related to pole attachment processes for broadband deployment.
“These new rules will allow for faster resolution of pole attachment disputes and provide pole attachers with more detailed information about the poles they plan to use as part of their broadband buildouts,” the FCC said in a press release.
A fact sheet included in the draft order highlighted specific issues that the order addresses.
The Report and Order establishes the Rapid Broadband Assessment Team (RBAT), an intra-agency rapid response team to manage attachment disputes. RBAT, the FCC said, will “[i]ncrease transparency for new broadband buildouts by amending the Commission’s pole attachment make-ready rules to require utilities to provide to potential attachers, upon request, the information contained in the utilities’ most recent cyclical pole inspection reports.”
The Declaratory Ruling deals with specific issues of interest to the pole attachment ecosystem, such as clarifying that “red tagged” poles are those the utility thinks need replacement for reasons other than lack of capacity. It also establishes timelines for processing attachment request involving 3,000 or more poles.
The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on any additional steps the commission should take to improve the approval process.
Pole attachments are a long-standing and controversial issue in the telecom industry. Check out Telecompetitor’s past coverage.