Skip to main content

D.C. Court Won't Stay Pole Attachment Rule Changes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has denied a petition to stay the FCC's pole-attachment rule changes, which the commission adopted in April to help boost broadband deployment by easing tower hookups and rights of way.

Those changes included lowering rates utility pole owners can charge for telecom service (as much as $20 per foot per year) to about the same as the cable rate of about $7 per foot per year. The FCC also voted to boost wireless access to poles and to set a deadline for utility companies to allow attachments.

The power companies filed a petition for reconsideration at the FCC, and took the rules to court as well, asking they be stayed until a decision on that challenge. The court said no, saying the petitioners "have not satisfied the stringent standards for a stay pending court review." Typically, one of those is high likelihood of success on the merits rather than simply the possibility of success.

The FCC is still considering appeals of the rules, including from American Electric Power Service Corporation, according to a cable attorney familiar with the challenge. The FCC has asked the court not to set a briefing schedule for the power company challenge until it is done considering those petitions, he said.