FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,318
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deterred cable operators from offering new services, and therefore applied the cable rate to cable
operators' attachments used for both video and Internet services.42 The Commission recognized that
there were strong policy reasons for this approach, concluding it "will encourage greater competition in
the provision of Internet service and greater benefits to consumers."53 Indeed, cable operators described
the significant negative effect that raising cable pole attachment rates to the telecom rate would have on
broadband investment in rural areas given the already higher costs to serve those areas.5 4For poles
subject to Commission-regulated rates used by the cable industry, NCTA noted a $3 difference between
the cable rate and the present telecom rate could amount to approximately $90 million to $120 million per
year, which could ultimately affect subscribers and future infrastructure investment, including broadband
176. The Commission's policy has provided pole owners with a compensatory rate and
successfully spurred investment by cable operators in networks capable of delivering advanced
communications services and the growth of facilities-based competition, both to the benefit of
consumers.54 For example, the American Cable Association explains that low attachment rates have
been "instrumental in the ability of smaller cable operators to deploy broadband facilities and offer
advanced communications services.""47 Moreover, we agree with commenters that extending this policy
by implementing a low and more uniform rate that will be applicable to attachments used by
telecommunications carriers will eliminate competitive disadvantages that carriers like TWTC face by
having to pay higher rates for these key inputs to communications services." At the same time, based on
the views of consumer advocates discussed above,549 we believe that our new telecom rate appropriately
acknowledges the policy interests in utility pole investment and of utility ratepayers.
542 1998 Implementation Order, 13 FCC Rcd at 6794, para. 32. In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld this decision,
finding that section 224(b) gives the Commission authority to adopt just and reasonable rates for attachments within
the general scope of section 224 of the Act, but outside the "self-described scope" of the telecom rate formula or
cable rate formula as specified under sections 224(d) and (e). Gulf Power, 534 U.S. at 335-36, 338-39.
543 1998 Implementation Order, 13 FCC Rcd at 6794, para. 32.
544 See, e.g., Charter NPRMComments at 3-6 (stating that monthly Intemet rates would increase by $2.47-$4.33 per
customer) ("[T]he presence of one Internet customer would 'contaminate' the entire system and thus all pole
attachments with a higher rate .... In the areas that Charter serves with 10-15 subscribers per mile, the impact ...
would be devastating given the already higher costs in rural areas. ... The increases will be so significant and the
cost pressure so intense that many competitors will forego providing service in rural areas as the domino effect on
projected take rates by rural customers will further reduce such providers' expectation of a return on investment that
would outpace capital debt reimbursement obligations.").
545 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 11912, para. 116 (citing NCTA Comments, Pelcovits Decl. at para. 13 (filed Sept.
24, 2009) (based on the estimated 30-40 million poles with cable attachments subject to Commission regulation)).
Cable commenters estimate an even greater difference between the two rates of $208 million to $672 million
annually for the cable industry as a whole. NCTA Comments, Pelcovits Decl. at para. 22. Likewise, in the case of
just one state-West Virginia-a difference of approximately $4 million in pole attachment expenses per year
between the current cable and telecom rates was estimated. NCTA Comments, Attach. Gregg Decl. at para. 14 &
5" NCTA Comments at 1.
s47 See, e.g., ACA Comments at 3.
54s TWTC explains that it "provides broadband information and telecommunications services over fiber that it
deploys" and "[a]ccess to poles is usually the most efficient and often the only means of deploying these fiber
transmission facilities." TWTC White Paper, RM-1293, at 2.
9 See supra Part V.B.I.
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/m1/490/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.