FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,287
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to resolve them expeditiously. Toward that end, whenever possible, the Enforcement Bureau will resolve
pole attachment complaints itself, to the extent permitted by its delegated authority.319
103. Finally, the Further Notice invited comment on numerous issues surrounding the possible
formation of specialized forums to handle pole attachment disputes.320 We received limited commentary
about these issues, all indicating that such forums are unnecessary.321 As a result, we do not believe that
changes of this sort are justified at this time. If future events warrant, however, we will reexamine the
issues at a later date.
B. Efficient Informal Dispute Resolution Process
104. The Further Notice sought comment on whether the Commission should attempt to
encourage "local dispute resolution" (i.e., dispute resolution processes outside the Commission's
auspices) by enacting a set of "best practices" and, if so, what the contours and impact of those best
practices should be.322 Several commenters endorsed the notion that local dispute resolution is beneficial
in the first instance,323 and others supported Commission efforts to formulate best practices.324
105. We agree with the commenters who support encouragement of local dispute resolution.
Thus, we believe it is desirable for parties to include dispute resolution procedures in their pole
attachment agreements. Any refusal to enter into an agreement because it contains a dispute resolution
provision would be considered unreasonable. We suggest that one issue to be addressed specifically in a
dispute resolution provision is the requirement (codified in new rule 1.1404(k)) of executive-level
settlement negotiations preceding the filing of a complaint with the Commission. Further, we believe it
would be reasonable for parties to agree to a forum other than the Commission (e.g., an arbitrator or
expert panel) to resolve disputes. That said, it would be unreasonable for a party to insist, over the other
party's objection, that a forum other than the Commission is the only appropriate forum for resolving
disputes that otherwise fall within the Commission's jurisdiction under section 224. We also note that the
Commission's pre-complaint mediation process has had marked success in helping parties resolve pole
attachment disputes, and we encourage parties to utilize that process.325
106. The Further Notice tentatively concluded that the portion of rule 1.1404(m) that provides
that potential attachers who are denied access to a pole, duct, or conduit must file a complaint "within 30
days of such denial" should be eliminated.326 Specifically, the Further Notice observed that the existence
of that language has deterred attachers from pursuing pre-complaint mediation and has prompted the
premature filing of complaints.27 A number of commenters agreed that the 30-day rule should be
eliminated.328 Other commenters felt that the rule should be retained, but all but one of those commenters
also supported an exception to the rule for parties that are engaged in good-faith negotiations to resolve
319 See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 0.311.
320 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 11898, para. 80.
321 AT&T Comments at 21-23; Florida IOUs Comments at 41; Comcast Comments at 32 n.96.
322 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 11899, para. 81.
323 Idaho Power Comments at 13; Alliant Comments at 6; ITTA Comments at 9.
324 AT&T Comments at 20; NCTA Comments at 50-52. But see CenturyLink Comments at 49 (the cases and issues
before the FCC are so idiosyncratic that it is unlikely a helpful set of general best practices could be developed).
325 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Red at 11875, para. 23 & n.73.
326 Id. at 11899-900, para. 82 (citing 47 C.F.R. 1.1404(m)).
328 NCTA Comments at 53; Comcast Comments at 33; Charter Comments at 24; Sunesys Comments at 22.
Federal Communications Commission
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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/m1/459/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.