The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the arguments of the utilities against the FCC’s new pole attachment rules and set into motion changes that will make it more affordable for DAS nodes to be deployed on the vast utility infrastructure.
In 2011, the FCC made three revisions to interpretation of Section 224 of the Communications Act, reformulating the ceiling on the pole attachment rates that utilities can charge telecommunications carriers, moving back the date as of which compensatory damages can start to accrue in successful complaints against utilities and allowing incumbent local exchange carriers to file complaints against utilities concerning pole attachments.
Section 224, which became part of the Communications Act in 1978 with the passage of the Pole Attachment Act, was a response to claims by the cable industry that utilities were charging monopoly rates for access to their poles. In the Act, Congress allowed the FCC to regulate rates, terms and conditions for pole attachments. In 1996, the Act was expanded the FCC’s authority to include pole attachments used by telecommunications carriers to provide telecommunications service, as well as by a cable company.
“The pole attachment order is helping to speed the deployment of wireless broadband by mandating timely, non-discriminatory access to utility poles and technology neutral rates for attachers,” said Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of PCIA.