On Friday, August 3, the FCC released its order adopting a One-Touch Make-Ready (OTMR) policy for attaching telecom and cable facilities to utility poles in the 30 states that don’t regulate pole attachments themselves. The FCC stated that it believes its action should help enable deployment of small cells and wireline backhaul for 5G services. However, Commissioner Rosenworcel, the only Democrat on the Commission, stated that she is concerned that the policy will slow down deployment because the Commission’s “definitions of simple and complex processes do not provide enough real-world guidance to attachers and utilities, setting the stage for disputes and delays.”
The order itself is problematic for a number of reasons, including those raised by Commissioner Rosenworcel.
Many of the provisions do not appear well grounded in the reality of electric utility operations, and in practice might not serve the Commission’s goals of promoting broadband and 5G services. For example, the public safety, worker safety, and reliability implications of losing control over the electric space cannot be overestimated. While the final order makes helpful changes to address certain concerns expressed by our Coalition of Concerned Utilities in this proceeding, we would much prefer that this electric space self-help remedy be removed entirely.