January 19, 2021

ACA Connects Applauds FCC for Taking Initial Action to Address Unreasonable Pole Replacement Fees from Investor-Owned Utilities

PITTSBURGH, January 19, 2021 – ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement thanking the Federal Communications Commission for issuing a ruling on pole replacement practices that should help speed broadband deployment:

“ACA Connects commends the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau for issuing a Declaratory Ruling that begins to clarify the obligations of investor-owned utilities, who are subject to the federal pole attachment statute, to allocate pole replacement costs in a just and reasonable manner. The Bureau appropriately ruled that investor-owned utilities may not charge new attachers for pole replacements if they are not the sole cause for the pole replacement.

“The record is clear that pole owners routinely require attaching parties to bear the full costs of replacing their poles, even when a new attacher is not the sole cause of that action.

“This practice not only contravenes the statute, but also impedes broadband deployment, especially in rural areas where many poles have outlived their useful life and are long overdue for replacement.

“This action follows a series of recent decisions by the FCC to rein in investor-owned utilities’ pole access practices that violate the statute and undermine broadband deployment throughout the country. We applaud the FCC for its diligence and look forward to continuing to work with the FCC as it further addresses unlawful pole replacement practices.”

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their businesses. For more information, visit: https://www.acaconnects.org