Incompas says FCC should adopt 'one touch make-ready' as part of pole attachment rule revamp

utility poles
Driven by upstart FTTH provider Google Fiber, "one touch" make-ready rules enable a contractor that’s approved by a pole owner to conduct all of the make-ready work at one time.

Incompas, the industry group that represents competitive service providers, has called on the new FCC to incorporate the “one touch make-ready” concept into its pole attachment amendment plans.

Driven by upstart FTTH provider Google Fiber, "one touch" enables a contractor that’s approved by a pole owner to conduct all of the make-ready work at one time.

Incompas cited in a letter (PDF) delivered to Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, that the regulator has called one touch laws a necessary way to encourage “timely deployment of advanced telecommunications services to all Americans.”

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“As you have indicated, one way the Commission can remove regulatory barriers is by reforming its pole attachment rules. It is critical that federal, state, and local regulatory agencies work to facilitate access to rights-of-way and infrastructure, such as conduit and poles,” said Chip Pickering, CEO of Incompas, in a letter. “Reform of these rules is necessary because current make-ready processes do not allow affordable, timely, or efficient construction of competitive networks.”

Under the current law in various states, new entrants like Google Fiber have to wait months for existing providers like AT&T and Comcast to move their lines themselves.This process is often time consuming and complex for the new entrant—A number of service providers noted that it takes over 90 days to complete their make-ready work.

Pickering said that “there are no 'shot clocks' to ensure that 'attachers' complete their work on a timely basis, leaving competitors in an untenable state of limbo as they seek to deploy their networks and begin service.”

Time is only one factor that can hold up the make-ready process.

Incompas highlighted how local utilities and telcos that own the poles don’t have a unified rate system. As a result, competitive providers face challenges in how much it will cost to build out fiber in a particular town or city.

“Incompas encourages the Commission to revisit its decision in its 2011 Pole Attachment Order not to require utilities to provide schedules of common make-ready charges,” Pickering said. “By requiring pole owners to provide a statement of charges for make-ready work for poles, competitive providers will be able to more accurately plan for the costs to construct their competitive networks.”

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