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FCC to Consider Final Pole-Access Rules at April Meeting

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was singing out of the cable operator hymn book Wednesday at the FCC's summit Wednesday on accelerating broadband.
He said the FCC needed to remove unnecessary regulations, which is part of a wider mandate by the White House to identify any regs that are no longer needed or would impede innovation and job creation. The FCC alreadyhas an open proceeding on revising rules on access to utility poles and the chairman said Wednesday the FCC would consider final rules at its April meeting. He also said Wednesday that at the same meeting, he will open an inquiry into federal, state, and local rights-of-way regulations.
The goal is to remove impediments to broadband deployment, and while the FCC is increasingly focused on wireless broadband, with cable operators still having done much of that deployment, they stand to benefit from speeding of the right-of-way and pole attachment processes.
The FCC said last May in launching the pole access reform process that the goal was to set pole-attachment rental rates "as low and close to uniform as possible" while speeding the process of attaching to those poles. Both are seen as a way to stimulate broadband deployment and competition. The FCC made pole attachment reform a part of the national broadband plan and one of its first action items.
At the time, the chairman said that the faster it can resolve rights-of-way issues including pole attachments, ducts, tower citing (wireless) and one-dig initiatives, the faster and deeper it can achieve broadband deployment. "We must insure that the process for deploying infrastructure is as efficient and streamlined as possible," he said.