In midst of the race for full 5G deployment, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released plans on Tuesday to speed network access to utility poles to promote broadband use.
According to a press release, the FCC is continuing its efforts to reduce the cost of attaching new network facilities to utility poles. In the international competition to gain full 5G coverage, the FCC noted that access to poles must be fast, predictable, safe, and affordable.
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Now, the FCC reformed the federal framework that dealt with pole attachments by establishing a process that allows the new attacher to move already existing attachments and perform all of the other required work to prepare the pole for a new attachment, according to the release.
This process, called “one-touch, make-ready,” is meant to speed and reduce the cost of broadband deployment. According to the release, this allows the new attacher to quickly prepare the pole, rather than spread the work across multiple parties.
The plan is expected to improve the current processes for attachments, but will not apply to more complicated attachments that have greater safety and reliability concerns, the report noted.
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The FCC also addressed state and local barriers for deployment, the report noted. On a case-by-case basis, the FCC will preempt state and local laws “that inhibit the rebuilding or restoration of broadband infrastructure after a disaster.”
Because the “one-touch, make-ready” plan allows any ISP to install equipment on already existing utility polls, including ones owned by other entities, it has gained some opposition, specifically a lawsuit by AT&T against the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The FCC announced its plans to speed network access to utility poles to promote broadband use.
- These new plans are also expected to lower the cost of attaching new network facilities to utility poles.