FCC: Louisville One Touch Not Superseded By FCC Rules

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been as good as his word. After a court overturned the FCC's preemption of state laws limiting municipal broadband he signaled to local communities that he would still stick up for communities that wanted to build out broadband.

On Monday, Oct. 31, the FCC weighed in with a Kentucky U.S. district court to say that the FCC's pole-attachment rules did not supersede a local "one touch" ordinance that makes it easier for competitors to incumbents, in this case AT&T (BellSouth), to attach to utility poles.

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AT&T sought to overturn a Louisville, Ky., ordinance, which had been sought by Google Fiber. Comcast also filed suit, also citing the conflict with FCC pole attachment rules.

But in a Statement of Interest from FCC General Counsel Howard Symons and filed by the Justice Department with the court, the commission said: "The federal pole-attachment regulations do not apply in Kentucky because Kentucky has filed a certification invoking reverse-preemption under Section 224(c) and has thereby opted out of the federal pole-attachment rules."

Related: FCC Backs FTC's Challenge to Ninth Circuit Ruling

"Historically, restrictions on access to utility poles have been a significant impediment to the deployment of competitive telecommunications services," he said.

The FCC has taken its own steps to ease pole attachments as a way to speed broadband deployments and competition. "As a general matter, promoting the deployment of competitive broadband infrastructure through one-touch make-ready policies is consonant with the goals of federal telecommunications policy, the Communications Act, and applicable FCC regulations," Symons said.

Related: FCC Votes to Harmonize Pole-Attachment Rates

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.