FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,319
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177. Furthermore, we find informative the actions taken by state regulators that have elected to
exercise jurisdiction over pole attachments in lieu of the Commission.5sso Commenters report that many of
these states apply a uniform rate for all attachments used to provide cable and telecommunications
services, and have done so by establishing a rate identical or similar to the Commission's cable rate
178. We are not persuaded by utilities' arguments that question the impact of the new telecom
rate on broadband deployment.552 Utilities assert that broadband already is available to the vast majority
of the U.S. population, and that factors other than the costs of pole attachments are more important to
decisions to deploy in rural areas.553 These arguments, however, overlook the documented reluctance on
the part of cable providers to expand their networks and provide new high-capacity services to customers
such as anchor institutions or wireless providers - whether in urban or rural areas - because of the risk
that some of those services could potentially be classified as "telecommunications services," triggering
disputes as to whether the higher, telecom rate should be applied over their entire pole attachment
network. As discussed above, the record indicates this problem is a barrier to the deployment of
integrated voice, data, and video services, including the provision of broadband services to anchor
institutions.s" By minimizing this disparity, the Commission will promote competition that will lead to
more and better service offerings at lower prices.
179. Even beyond the effects of the rate disparity, we anticipate that the absolute level of pole
rental rates also is likely to be relevant to decisions regarding what services are provided. In addition to
the comments in the current record,555 the National Broadband Plan cited cost information suggesting that
higher pole attachment costs can affect broadband deployment.556 Reducing input costs improves the
business case for broadband deployment at the margin, expanding opportunities for investment. The
effect of a reduction in one type of input cost becomes even more significant as the Commission
55o These states, listed in Appendix C, certify that they meet certain statutory requirements. 47 U.S.C.
224(c)(2)(B), (c)(3)(B) (the state regulatory commission must "consider the interests of the subscribers of the
services offered via such attachments as well as the interests of the consumers of the utility services," and it must
provide prompt action on complaints).
55" Comcast Comments at 18-20; NCTA Comments at Attach. B; TWC Comments at 3; Verizon Reply at 10-11
(stating that "[fjor example, in New York 'there is one pole attachment rate, which applies to all attachments
regardless of the type of company' and that rate is 'based on the federal formula for cable television attachments'").
But see Coalition NPRMComments at 36 (citing to three states and one city that adopted higher attachment rates).
552 See, e.g., EEI/UTC Orszag, Shampine Decl. at 13-15 (arguing that most of the poles in areas without broadband
would not be affected by the Commission's proposed rate and this rate is a relatively small fraction of network
"3 See, e.g., APPA Reply at 19; Coalition Comments at 120; NRECA Comments at 27 (arguing low pole rates are
not enough to promote broadband deployment and that there are not enough consumers that can generate sufficient
revenue for broadband service providers to deploy in very low density areas).
5ss We note that, under existing Commission precedent, cable operators that provide commingled Internet access
services do not trigger the higher telecom rate on that basis, and our actions here do not alter that holding. See supra
5s Letter from Craig A. Gilley, Counsel for Suddenlink Comm. and Mediacom Comm. Corp., to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, FCC, WC Docket No. 07-245, at 1 (Feb. 10, 2011).
556 See, e.g., NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN at 110 n.7 (citing to NCTA NPRMComments App. B, Decl. of Dr.
Michael D. Pelcovits). That study found that an increase in the cable rate to the telecom rate for cable companies
would translate to a cost increase ranging between $10.46 and $33.75 annually per broadband subscriber, and such
an "increase in pole attachment rates is likely to make it unprofitable for cable companies to enter new markets or
continue to offer broadband service in some rural areas." NCTA NPRMComments App. B, Decl. of Dr. Michael D.
Pelcovits at 21.
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/m1/491/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.