ACA: New Regs Could Push Fees Up 400% for Rural Operators

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WASHINGTON, D.C. —The American
Cable Association warned last week
that untethered pole attachment rates
could drive the cost of broadband beyond
the reach of rural customers.

In comments to the FCC, the ACA,
which represents about 900 mostly
rural cable operators, applauded the
FCCs’ efforts to promote broadband
deployment through revised pole attachment
regulations. But the organization
said that new proposed pole attachment
formulas could increase fees
five-fold for some operators, which in
turn would cause consumer broadband
rates to rise.

“An increase in pole fees will have a
financially punishing and disproportionate
impact on rural broadband
providers, which rely on poles far more
than urban providers and have fewer
subscribers to absorb the impact of rising
fees,” ACA CEO Matt Polka said in a
statement.

Under a 1978 federal law, cable
operators have a right to attach their
wires to utility poles at regulated rates
that fully compensate pole owners.
Recently, pole owners have pushed
for cable operators to pay a higher
rate — previously applied to telecom
companies — if they provide non-cable
services. ACA claims that applying that
higher rate would boost fees paid by
some of its members as high as 400%.

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