FCC's 'One Touch' Pole Attachment Rules Take Effect

The FCC's decision to streamline pole attachments have gone into effect.

The FCC voted in August 2018 (unanimously, though with one partial dissent) to adopt a one-touch, make-ready (OTMR) policy for new broadband attachments on utility poles.

The rules were scheduled to take effect 30 days after publication of the rules in the Federal Register, which happened April 19. That could not happen until the Office of Management and Budget had signed off on the reporting requirement per the Paperwork Reduction Act, which happened April 15.

The new rules took effect Monday, May 20

Related: Cable Ops Push for Codified Overlashing Rules

The third Report & Order and declaratory ruling allows new attachers -- like cable broadband providers and Google Fiber -- to perform all the "simple" work of preparing and attaching the wires.

The ruling also declared in no uncertain terms that states and localities are prohibited from imposing moratoria on broadband buildouts.

Related: Pole Attachment Delays Mar Broadband Infrastructure Rollouts

The item codified that new wires can overlash existing attachments to maximize the space available and regularizes the rate incumbents pay for attachments vs. cable and telco attachers.

Specifically, the new rules:

1. "Permit new attachers to elect an OTMR process for simple make-ready for wireline attachments in the “communications space” on a pole.

2. "Establish safeguards in the OTMR process to promote coordination among the parties and ensure that new attachers perform work safely and reliably.

3. "Retain a multi-party process for other new attachments where safety and reliability risks are greater, while making some modifications to speed deployment.

4. "Codify the Commission’s existing precedent that permits attachers to “overlash” existing wires without first seeking the utility’s approval while allowing the utility to request reasonable advance notice of overlashing."

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.