NCTA Wants to Join FCC in Pole Attachment Defense

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The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has signaled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that it wants to intervene in support of the Federal Communications Commission's pole attachment ruling.

In a motion filed with the court this week, NCTA said it had the right to intervene in the case because it participated in the rulemaking and its members would be affected by it.

Various power companies have challenged the FCC's April 7 decision to lower the rates utility pole owners can charge for telecom service (which has been 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 change will mean cable companies won't have to pay more for their telecom offerings, either, which could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.

Not surprisingly, the utilities have opposed the move, and took that opposition to the D.C. Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals of FCC decisions. They had argued that the FCC was shifting the cost from telecom companies to its ratepayers.

The pole attachment decision was one of a number of moves the FCC is making to spur broadband adoption by removing what it sees as barriers to buildout.

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