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Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order on “one-touch, make-ready wireline infrastructure.”
New providers entering an area are required to notify the entity that owns the utility poles, which is then required to notify other providers who use the same poles. This enables each company to prepare to share the poles with a new provider by potentially moving their equipment to accommodate, a costly and lengthy process known as “make-ready” work.
The Order creates a one-touch, make-ready option for simple make-ready work that allows a single crew hired by the new provider to do all of the make-ready work at one time. It also shortens deadlines for the utility and existing attachers to do their make-ready work for non-one-touch, make-ready processes, and it creates a self-help remedy whereby a new attacher can do the make-ready work itself if the utility misses its deadlines.
Public Knowledge contends that the FCC’s Order marks a positive step forward, but remains disappointed by the agency’s move to once again preempt state authority to oversee local broadband deployment.
The following can be attributed to Allie Bohm, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“It is 2018, and yet, 39 percent of rural Americans still do not have reliable access to a quality broadband internet connection. Today, the FCC took an important step toward closing the rural digital divide and enhancing broadband competition throughout the country, which will benefit all consumers. We applaud the FCC for creating a one-touch, make-ready option for simple make-ready work and for shortening make-ready deadlines and streamlining processes.
“However, we are concerned that today’s order may wrest important controls from state and local governments. While we can all agree that states and localities should not stand in the way of broadband deployment, local officials are best positioned to understand and address their unique community needs. We worry that the Order’s preemption provisions will inhibit states and localities from addressing legitimate local concerns, such as historic preservation and protecting local rights-of-way.”