AT&T says FCC should clearly define complex vs. simple One Touch Make Ready

poles
AT&T has advocated that the FCC make a clear definition of what constitutes complex OTMR. (Image: Pixabay)

AT&T told the FCC that while there continues to be a debate over whether a new pole attachment transfer is either simple or complex, service providers agree that the regulator needs to provide a common definition.

Recent FCC filings made by AT&T, Verizon, Google Fiber and the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) revealed there is a consensus that complex One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) processes should be defined as those transfers “reasonably likely to cause an outage [e.g. cable splicing or move of wireless equipment].”

In its latest FCC filing (PDF), AT&T said that the regulator could alleviate the debate by providing what it calls an “objective definition.” By following the FCC’s definition, there would be less disagreement “about who identifies simple vs. complex transfer.”

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Fellow telco Verizon suggested to the FCC that there should be a “slightly longer notice period before a contractor performs complex OTMR.”

AT&T said that “existing attachers should be given time to move their own complex transfers and if they don’t, the new attacher can move them.”

Additionally, AT&T advocated that there should be provisions in place to provide two other elements--indemnification to existing attachers and honoring union labor workforce agreements—two issues that have yet to get consensus among all the interested parties.

AT&T said existing attachers and pole owners should be indemnified for damages/outages caused by new attachers or their contractor. However, other parties including Verizon, Google Fiber and BDAC want to limit indemnification to property damage at the pole.

AT&T also advocates that the OTMR process can be coordinated while honoring the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) existing attachers negotiated with their union workers. Verizon, Google Fiber and BDAC did not cite this is an issue.

Overall, interested parties have slightly different takes on how to apply OTMR for complex pole transfers:

AT&T & BDAC: OTMR does not apply to complex transfers, but new attachers can self-help after the existing attacher’s move period has expired.

Google Fiber: OTMR can apply complex transfers, but existing attachers can move their own facilities.

Verizon: OTMR should apply to complex transfers, but only after “a longer notice period.”

By having what it says is a reasonably long notice period, existing attachers could perform their own complex transfers before the approved contractor performs OTMR.

Previously, AT&T asked the FCC to consider a new rule that would limit the OTMR process to routine transfers on existing utility poles.

AT&T said in an FCC filing (PDF) in January that applying this concept would reduce the possibility that existing services would be interrupted during the OTMR process.