The FCC is looking to level the playing field for cable and telecom companies that need to string wires on utility poles or underground conduit.
The Commission is introducing an order of reconsideration that will lower the rates for telecoms to those paid by cable companies. It’s something the Commission attempted in 2011, but now it’s revising that four-year-old plan by changing the rules around how it defines cost.
The rates adjustment should help out Internet Service Providers (ISP) whose broadband services are now reclassified as telecommunications service under new FCC rules.
The rules revision came in response to the National Cable and Telecommunication Association (NCTA), Level 3, and INCOMPAS (formerly COMPTEL). INCOMPAS praised the order.
“Large or small, incumbent or competitor, broadband providers stand united in their support of increasing broadband deployment through sound, reasonable pole attachment policy,” INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering said in a statement.
“The FCC’s decision to essentially grant the joint request by telecommunication carriers and cable operators to ensure unified and reasonable pole attachment rates is a win for consumers and business customers looking to connect with future networks.”
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai also called the move a win for ISPs and consumers. But he saved some skepticism for interpretations he believed might get the rule changes blocked in court.
Specifically, Pai called the legal rationale for this new, lower rate is “rather odd” and said the Order’s varying interpretations of the word ‘cost’ might not square with the canon of consistency.
On top of that, Pai said that even with the new rule changes, ISPs and telecoms are still paying too much for access to utility poles since new rates still cover capital expenses for pole owners even if those costs have already been recouped.
Filed Under: Industry regulations, Cables + cable management