Level 3, COMPTEL ask FCC to rework utility pole attachment rules

Level 3 and competitive telecom industry advocacy group COMPTEL filed comments asking the FCC resolve the lingering issue over pole attachment rates for cable and telecom providers.

In the filing, the commenters asked for the FCC to grant the pending petition from reconsideration of the regulator's 2011 Pole Attachment Order.

For competitive players like Level 3, the FCC's 2011 Pole Attachment Order was designed to ensure that any provider can get access to poles at the same rate cable gets--an issue the FCC raised again in its new net neutrality order.

Level 3 and COMPTEL wrote in their joint filing with the FCC that granting the petition will make it easier for more service providers to expand broadband services to more businesses and consumers while protecting "competitive distortions that these disparate rates can cause."  

While the FCC's 2011 order recognized that there was a disparity in the rate formulas used for cable and telcos could have "negative implications for competition and broadband deployment," COMPTEL and Level 3 say the FCC needs to make further clarifications.

"Unlike its cable counterpart, the new telecommunications formula includes a rebuttable presumption regarding the number of attaching parties," COMPTEL and Level 3 wrote in the filing. "So, when a pole owner calculates a rate for telecommunications providers using fewer attaching parties than the Commission's presumptions, a telecommunications carrier can be charged upwards of 70% more than a cable operator to attach to the same pole."

For more:
- see the FCC filing (.pdf)

Related articles:
NCTA to FCC: Google can already attach to utility poles without Title II
AT&T says it can block Google Fiber from poles in Austin; city begs to differ
FCC's pole attachment rules upheld by D.C. court

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