FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,250
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Tribal, state, and local government, and with the private sector to reduce barriers to broadband
III. IMPROVED ACCESS TO UTILITY POLES
19. We take several steps to improve access to utility poles. Our rules are generally consistent
with proposals in the Further Notice, but also reflect a close examination of the record developed in this
proceeding.63 We adopt a four-stage timeline that provides a maximum of 148 days for attachers to
access the communications space on utility poles. For wireless attachments above the communications
space, we adopt a modified form of the timeline.64 The timeline begins to run after the requester submits
a complete application. We also establish that a utility may stop the clock for emergencies pursuant to a
"good and sufficient cause" standard. We adopt rules that allow attachers to use independent contractors
pre-authorized by the utilities to complete survey and make-ready work in the communications space,
subject to a number of protections and conditions, if the pole owner does not meet the prescribed
timelines. In particular, electric utilities have ultimate decision-making authority regarding the
contractor's work with respect to section 224(f)(2) denial-of-access issues. We allow a utility to limit on
a per-state basis the size of a pole attachment request that is subject to the timeline, and allow extra time
for large orders. Specifically, we apply the basic timeline to requests of up to 300 pole attachments per
state or attachments to 0.5 percent of the utility's in-state poles, whichever is less. For larger requests of
up to 3,000 pole attachments per state or 5 percent of the utility's in-state poles, whichever is less,
additional time is provided for survey and make-ready. Utilities may treat multiple in-state requests from
a single attacher during a 30-day period as one request. Our rules further provide that any denial of a
request to attach must cite with specificity the particular safety, reliability, engineering, or other valid
concern that is the basis for denial. We clarify that blanket prohibitions on pole top access are not
permitted. And, as noted elsewhere in this Order, we encourage a high degree of pre-planning and
coordination between attachers and pole owners, to begin as early in the process as possible.
20. We decline to adopt several proposals set forth in the Further Notice or that commenters
recommend, and explain those decisions. For example, we determine that the timeline will provide
adequate incentives for joint owners of poles to coordinate, and thus do not require joint owners to name a
single management entity. We also conclude that several subsections of section 224 provide the
Commission with sufficient authority to adopt a timeline and other access rules.
A. Timeline for Section 224 Access
1. Stages of the Timeline
21. We find that adopting a specific timeline for processing pole attachment requests will give
necessary guidance to both pole owners and attachers. Evidence in the record reflects that, in the absence
of a timeline, pole attachments may be subject to excessive delays.65 Moreover, having a specific
62 The FCC's Broadband Initiative: Reducing Barriers to Spur Broadband Buildout, Public Notice (rel. Feb. 9,
2011), available at htt://www.fcc.gov/Dail Releases/Daily Business/201 l/db0209/DOC-304571A2.pdf; see
Julius Genachowski, Chairman, FCC, Remarks at Broadband Acceleration Conference (Feb. 9, 2011), available at
http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/201 /db0209/DOC-304571Al .pdf.
63 See infra para. 21 (discussing the record evidence regarding adoption of a timeline).
64 The modified timeline for access to poles above the communications space adopted in this Order applies solely to
wireless attachments because the record in this proceeding does not demonstrate any need for a timeline for non-
wireless attachments above the communications space. Thus, issues regarding wireline attachments above the
communications space are beyond the scope of this Order.
65s See, e.g., Fibertech/KDL Comments at 8 (citing an increase of 159 customers per year after NY adopted a
timeline at an average of 100 days from application submission to licensing, contrasted with MD where applications
average over 250 days); Letter from Michael P. Miller, CEO, Fiberlight LLC, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC, WC Docket No. 07-245, at 1 (filed Feb. 23, 2011) (Fiberlight Feb. 23 Ex Parte Letter) (citing examples of
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011, book, April 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc52169/m1/422/: accessed February 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.