The American Cable Association (ACA) is protesting a petition made by a group of electric utilities to the FCC that seeks to require cable operators offering VoIP service to pay the standard telecom rate to leverage electric poles. The ACA argued in the petition that if cable operators are required to pay higher pole attachment fees just because they offer digital phone services on their lines, it would mean higher cable service prices and possibly hamper the efforts of smaller cable operators to expand broadband deployments in rural areas.
"Hiking pole attachment rates at the request of a few power companies will only make it that much harder for ACA members to deliver affordable broadband access to unserved and underserved areas where it is needed the most," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said in a release. "Instead of raising poles fees, the FCC should do everything within its power to keep pole rates where they are and thereby advance broadband deployment in rural communities where demand for this critical technology is high."
The debate over what cable pays for pole attachments has been ongoing, and utilities aren't the only ones crying foul over what cable pays. Some competitive telecom providers such as tw telecom believe that the pole attachment process needs to be simplified. In a filing with the FCC, tw telecom argued there should be a "single pole attachment rate to all service providers that compete in a market for broadband services."
- see the release here
Utilities: Cable should pay telecom rate for pole attachments