These two actions can improve the business case for deploying and upgrading broadband network infrastructure and facilitate competitive entry.
These costs can be reduced directly by cutting fees.
Recommendation 6.1: The FCC should establish rental rates for pole attachments that are as low and close to uniform as possible, consistent with Section 224 of the Communications Act of 1934, to promote broadband deployment.
As Exhibit 6-A shows, the rental rates paid by communications companies to attach to a utility pole vary widely—from approximately $7 per foot per year for cable operators to $10 per foot per year for competitive telecommunications companies to more than $20 per foot per year for some incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).
This approach would also greatly reduce complexity and risk for those deploying broadband.
Recommendation 6.2: The FCC should implement rules that will lower the cost of the pole attachment “make-ready” process.
With regard to other infrastructure such as utility poles, the FCC has authority to improve the deployment process and should use that authority.
Lowering the costs of infrastructure access involves every level of government; active consultation among all levels of government will be needed to put in place pro-deployment policies such as joint trenching, conduit construction and placement of broadband facilities on public property.
Many state and local governments have taken steps to encourage and facilitate fiber conduit deployment as part of public works projects like road construction.
Similarly, in November 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established timelines for states and localities to process permit requests to build and locate wireless equipment on towers.
The costs can also be lowered indirectly by expediting processes and decreasing the risks and complexities that companies face as they deploy broadband network infrastructure.