FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,276
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2. Pole Tops
77. We clarify that section 224 allows wireless attachers to access the space above what has
traditionally been referred to as "communications space" on a pole.224 On previous occasions, the
Commission has declined to establish a presumption that this space may be reserved for utility use only,
and has stated that the only recognized limits to access for antenna placement are those contained in the
statute.225 Yet wireless attachers assert that pole top access is persistently challenged by pole owners,
who often impose blanket prohibitions on attaching to some or all pole tops.26 Blanket prohibitions are
not permitted under the Commission's rules.227 We reject the assertions of some utilities that our rule
regarding pole tops will create a "de facto presumption in favor of pole top attachments" or otherwise
"restrict an electric utility's right to deny access for reasons of safety and reliability.2"" Instead, we
clarify that a wireless carrier's right to attach to pole tops is the same as it is to attach to any other part of
a pole. Utilities may deny access "where there is insufficient capacity, and for reasons of safety,
reliability, and generally applicable engineering purposes."29 The record in this proceeding is replete
with examples of various types of pole top attachments that have been successfully accommodated, both
for wireless attachers and for the utilities themselves.23o
C. Use of Contractors for Attachment
78. As proposed in the Further Notice, we resolve an ambiguity in the Commission's rules
regarding the use of contractors to attach facilities "in the proximity of electric lines" after make-ready
has been completed and attachment permits issued. Specifically, we clarify that "proximity of electric
lines" in this context includes work that extends into the safety space that separates the communications
space from the electric space, but does not include work among the power lines. While an attacher may
use a contractor to attach a wireless antenna above the communications space and associated safety space,
we find that an attacher may only use a contractor that has the proper qualifications and that the utility has
approved to perform such work.23' Utilities are not required to keep a separate list of contractors for this
purpose, but must be reasonable in approving or disapproving contractors. Accordingly, as we explain
224 See 47 U.S.C. 224(f).
225 Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996; Interconnection
Between Local Exchange Carriers and Commercial Mobile Radio Service Providers, CC Docket No. 96-98, Order
on Reconsideration, 14 FCC Rcd 18048, 19074, para. 72 (1999); Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Reminds
Utility Pole Owners of Their Obligations to Provide Wireless Telecommunications Providers with Access to Utility
Poles at Reasonable Rates, Public Notice, 19 FCC Rcd 24930 (WTB 2004).
226 See, e.g., DAS Forum Comments at 12-13; NextG Comments at 21. Wireless attachments often require
placement at or near the top of the pole in order to efficiently provide distributed antenna systems (DAS) or other
wireless services. See, e.g., DAS Forum Comments at 12 ("Pole top installations are typically at the optimal
elevation for DAS antennas. If antennas are lower the (wireless) coverage footprint will be too small."); Letter from
William J. Sill, Counsel, ATC Outdoor DAS, LLC, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, WC Docket No. 07-245
(filed Mar. 15, 2011).
227 47 C.F.R. 1.1403(b).
228 Florida IOUs Reply at 38-40; see Alliance Reply at 62-63.
229 47 U.S.C. 224(f)(2).
230 See, e.g., Letter from Robert Millar, Senior Regulatory Counsel, NextG, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC,
WC Docket No. 07-245, GN Docket No. 09-51, at 2 (filed Mar. 14, 2011) (stating that NextG has built over 800
pole top wireless installations in Pennsylvania); Oncor Comments at 33 (stating that Oncor's poles have
approximately 755 wireless attachments from three different attachers).
231 The record indicates that the utilities routinely perform this work themselves because of the location and the type
of work involved. See, e.g., Oncor Comments at 40; Florida IOUs Comments at 29.
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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/m1/448/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.