FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011 Page: 5,320
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undertakes additional steps to accelerate broadband deployment. Scarce resources and the fact that up to
24 million Americans do not have access to broadband today lend greater urgency to the Commission's
efforts to ensure that policies regarding key inputs that bear on broadband deployment and availability are
designed to facilitate utilization of those resources to promote broadband.ss7
180. In arguing to revise the present telecom rate upward and make it the uniform rate for
attachments, electric utilities assert that the telecom rate is based on "unrealistic presumptions" for the
average number of attaching entities on a pole and the classification of "safety space" as "usable
space."55s The Commission has given extensive consideration to these issues in prior decisions, and we
find no basis for revisiting them.559 Indeed, as we noted above, we find instructive consumer advocates'
position supporting the cable rate as the just and reasonable rate for all pole attachments and stating that
increasing attachment rates for broadband services would be "contrary to 'the nation's commitment to
achieving universal broadband deployment and adoption."'5s
181. In sum, we conclude that there are substantial benefits that will be derived from adoption
of the revised telecom rate, and that these benefits substantially outweigh any costs associated with the
rule. Although it is not possible to quantify with precision the benefits and costs based on the information
we have before us, and although some of the benefits are not subject to quantification, several sources of
gain stand out. For one, largely eliminating the difference in prices charged to cable operators and
telecommunications carriers will significantly reduce the extent to which investment and deployment
choices by such providers, and competition more generally, are distorted based on regulatory
classifications.56' Reducing the telecom rate to make it closer to uniform with the cable rate will enable
more efficient investment decisions in network expansion and upgrades, most notably in the deployment
of modern broadband networks.562 In addition, the change reduces the uncertainty facing third party
attachers, and in particular cable companies, as to what charges they are likely to face when they engage
557 Sixth Broadband Deployment Report, 25 FCC Rcd at 9574, para. 28 ("[A]pproximately 14 to 24 million
Americans do not have access to broadband today. [This] group appears to be disproportionately lower-income
Americans and Americans who live in rural areas. The goal of the statute, and the standard against which we
measure our progress, is universal broadband availability.").
558 See, e.g., EEI/UTC Comments at 75; Florida IOUs Reply at 46 (contending that safety space (usually 40 inches)
on a pole, currently included as "usable space" in the rate formula, is only necessary because of communications
attachers and should be treated as "unusable" space so that electric utilities are not bearing the full cost of providing
the space); Florida IOUs Reply at 68-69.
559 2001 Order on Reconsideration, 16 FCC Rcd at 12130, para. 51 (rejecting utility arguments to remove the 40-
inch safety space from the presumptive 13.5 feet of usable space and affirming the 2000 Fee Order, 15 FCC Red at
6467-68, para. 22 (finding that "the presence of the potentially hazardous electric lines ... makes the safety space
necessary and but for the presence of those lines, the space could be used by cable and telecommunications
attachers," and further that this "space is usable and is used by the electric utilities")). See supra note 517 in
response to utility assertions about the presumptive number of attachers. We also decline to adopt the USTelecom
and AT&T/Verizon proposals for pole attachment rates. See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 11913-14, para. 119
(describing those proposals). Even beyond the questions about whether those proposals are consistent with section
224, id. at 11914, para. 120, we are not persuaded that it will advance our broadband policies to increase the input
costs for some providers, as both proposals would do. Id. at 11914-15, para. 121.
560 NASUCA Reply at 5.
561 As discussed above, this will directly lead to better resource allocation on an ongoing basis, see supra paras.
174-176, the benefits of which will be large when summed across the nation and over time.
562 See supra paras. 174-176. In addition, pole attachments are commonly an essential input, and hence critical to
the competitive process. See, e.g., supra paras. 172, 179. The cumulative efficiency benefit of improved
competition across the nation and over time can be expected to be significant.
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/m1/492/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.