Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
n the case of Ameren Corp. vs. FCC, upholding the FCC's order equalizing cable and telecommunications pole attachment rates.
"Today the Eighth Circuit provided a victory for broadband users, competition and deployment by upholding the FCC's decision on pole attachments that equalizes and potentially lowers certain pole attachment rates," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. "Pole attachment pricing and delays have held back the deployment of broadband networks by new companies seeking to provide better service, faster speeds and lower prices. Pole attachment reform represents one of the key building blocks for promoting the continued deployment of competitive broadband services across the nation, and we applaud today's court decision. We now hope the FCC takes the next, necessary step in spurring broadband deployment by allowing new attachers the option to invoke a one-touch, make ready process for pole attachments, which will provide more affordable, timely and efficient construction of competitive networks."
Background of the case: In 2011, the FCC adopted an order with the intent of harmonizing the pole attachment rates that cable and telecom service providers pay utility pole owners. But the Order didn't achieve its goal. In response to a Petition for Reconsideration filed by INCOMPAS (then COMPTEL), NCTA and tw telecom, the FCC again altered the telecom rate, adopting the order at issue in the appeal. This 2015 Order eliminated the distinction between poles in urban and non-urban areas, instead basing "cost" on the average number of attachers to a pole within an area. The Eighth Circuit decision upholds this order, which effectively equalizes the telecom rate with the cable rate.