FCC Adopts Infrastructure One Touch Make Ready Third R&O and Declaratory Ruling

On August 2, 2018, the Commission adopted the Third Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling (“Order” and “Ruling”) in the Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment proceeding in the August Open Meeting (WT Docket Nos. 17-84, 17-79). The Order adopts a new framework for the vast majority of pole attachments and speeds the process of preparing poles for new attachments with a “one touch make ready” (“OTMR”) regime. The Declaratory Ruling concludes that state and local moratoria on telecommunications services and facilities deployment are barred by Section 253(a) of the Communications Act, finding that they effectively prohibit the ability of any entity to provide telecommunications service.

There were no significant changes made to the Declaratory Ruling. There were, however, a number of substantive changes made to the adopted Order from the previously released Draft Order. These changes include several clarifying provisions outlining the scope of the rules, OTMR processes, notification requirements and make-ready timelines. Notably, the FCC declined to adopt the previously proposed shortened timeline for pole attachments, and instead retains the current 90- and 135-day timelines.

The Order also establishes a new effective date for the item. The pole attachments and amendments within the Order will become effective on the latter of either: 1) six months after the release of the item; or 2) 30 days after OMB approval is published in the Federal Register. The Ruling became effective upon release of the Order, August 3, 2018.

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