COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN
Re: Implementation of Section 224 of the Act, WC Docket No. 07-245, A National Broadband
Plan for Our Future, GN Docket No. 09-51
Re: Acceleration of Broadband Deployment. Expanding the Reach and Reducing the Cost of
Broadband Deployment by Improving the Policies Regarding Public Rights of Way and
Wireless Facilities Siting, WC Docket No. 1 1- 59
Today we take an important step to promote broadband deployment and competition, and
both wireline and wireless consumers stand to gain. Through our adoption of specific timeframes
for access to poles, broadband providers will be better positioned to plan their network
deployments and upgrades. As a result, they will be better able to serve their customers and meet
their broadband demands. Moreover, by addressing the disparate pole rental rates paid by service
providers, we are establishing a more evenhanded opportunity for providers to compete with one
another based on their offerings and prices.
I spent a great deal of time considering the arguments on both sides concerning the joint
use agreements that utilities and incumbent local exchange carriers ("ILECs") rely upon for
access to one another's poles. At face value, parity for ILECs is an attractive proposition,
especially considering the policy rationale of a level playing field for all broadband competitors.
However, I was persuaded that joint use agreements are not just simple pole attachment contracts.
They are joint ownership agreements. Some of these agreements have significant histories, as
they are decades old. Accordingly, I agree with the guidelines we establish in this Order that set
forth a series of factors for the Commission to consider in determining whether the existing rates
are just and reasonable in a complaint proceeding. To the extent that ILECs benefit from our
oversight of these agreements through decreased pole expenses, consumers should be the
beneficiaries through additional deployment, decreases in service prices, or network upgrades to
faster broadband speeds. As such, it is only appropriate that industry provide us with regular
updates on how they are passing these benefits on to consumers.
I also support the Notice of Inquiry we adopt today that seeks detailed information on the
management of public rights of ways and the siting of wireless facilities. I believe it is important
for the Commission to gather this data as part of our Broadband Acceleration Initiative.
While it is essential to learn how long it takes and how much it costs for broadband providers to
obtain the necessary approvals from a local jurisdiction to build a new tower or access conduit
under a street, I believe it is equally imperative for the Commission to fully understand the policy
rationales for these processes and costs. Gathering and analyzing the data should not be done in a
vacuum. We must also commit ourselves, to work in partnership, with our counterparts in state
and local governments, other federal agencies, and Tribal governments on these issues. We can
achieve our common goal of promoting broadband service to residents and anchor institutions by
Federal Communications Commission
United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28-April 08, 2011. Washington D.C.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc52169/. Accessed March 6, 2015.