Broadband services

SlideshowPole Control Fight Gets Net Neutrality Nasty

At center, AT&T's Chris Nurse speaks during the January BDAC meeting at the FCC
At center, AT&T's Chris Nurse speaks during the January BDAC meeting at the FCC

Duh! 1/26/2018 | 2:24:20 PM
Finding a balance I take issue with Pai's "all regulation is evil" philosophy. However, legal, permiting, joint engineering, make ready and small cell siting are probably the biggest barrier to broadband deployment and competitve broadband markets. Some municipalities do try to treat broadband providers as a cash cows, whipping boys, or tributaries. There is also a certain amount of official corruption at the local level.  Given that universal broadband service and real competition are important national goals,  the FCC is right to intervene.

At the same time, municipalities need to at least cover their costs. They do need network upgrades. They have a legitimate interest in ensuring that their least profitable citizens are served. They also are accountable to their constituents who complain about perceived eyesores.

And on the third hand... there are lots of local goverment officials in the country who'd give up a kidney for high-speed broadband in their communities. Officials like Mayor Liccardo should be grateful not to be among them. They should also consider that cities like Boston and Houston that partner with providers get all the latest goodies for their citizens, plus the pricing benefits of real competition.

It would be very informative to see the consensus draft that Mayor Liccardo claims was steamrolled in the sub-committee. It could be that it struck a balance that the current draft does not.

This comes across as yet another black eye for the FCC.
mendyk 1/26/2018 | 2:36:31 PM
Re: Finding a balance Given that regulatory power in telecom has been clearly established to lie with state and local governments for decades, on what basis can the FCC ignore that established legal framework to mandate changes?
Duh! 1/26/2018 | 3:02:46 PM
Re: Finding a balance It's complicated. The Communications Act does give the FCC limited pre-emption authority (don't remember all the details). Pai has a bunch of NPRMs queued up that do preempt local authority. Plus the existing antenna siting rules pre-empt the states, and the pole attachment rules hold unless the state reverse-preempts.

BDAC is attacking the problem from the other direction, creating model codes that states and localities can adapt to their own needs and adopt. That's "model" in the sense that ALEC writes "model" state laws.

Also: BDAC is not a formal proceeding, just a bunch of people the FCC recruited to talk about problems and write recommendations. If there were to be an FCC rulemaking on any of these topics, it would go through the regular notice and comment process.
brooks7 1/26/2018 | 3:05:41 PM
Re: Finding a balance Dennis,

I think you are right on.  This can not be a Federal Issue.  They can issue any rule, law or edict that they want and there is no way to enforce it.  If a city wants to charge $1B for each pole access they can.  If they want to charge $0, they can.  There are LOTS of network construction issues that are not harmonized.  We don't have common tower location standards, common OSP cabinet standards, and a zillion other issues.

We invoke the 14th amendment and point out that is essentially wipes out state and local governments (hey why my vote in California be worth less of a percent of an electoral college vote than one in Wyoming and still have "equal protection).  There are no other building codes that are harmonized, why should the federal government be able to overrule here?  And by the way this extends to highways and other infrastructure.

Joe Stanganelli 1/28/2018 | 10:26:25 PM
Re: Finding a balance > They should also consider that cities like Boston and Houston that partner with providers get all the latest goodies for their citizens

Funded in large part by said citizens. And the goodies aren't particularly goodies for all.

Not to pooh-pooh these efforts wholesale, certainly, but what's right for one municipality may not be right for another.
Duh! 1/29/2018 | 10:15:06 AM
Re: Finding a balance I've done a deep dive on Boston. The contract is up on the DoIT site. I'd say it's a win-win.

Your point that one size does not fit all is well taken. Each municipality has to evaluate the gives and the gets. They just need to approach it as a business partnership.
Joe Stanganelli 1/30/2018 | 1:34:53 AM
Re: Finding a balance @Duh:

To shed some further light on how private-public "business partnerships" work around these parts... The Boston political climate is tempered heavily by powerful unions. The current mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, rose in his career as a union lawyer -- and easily won his seat after Tom Menino retired thanks in substantial part to union support. Union workers generally enjoy exceptionally strong support in Boston.

(To be clear, I don't know anything about the labor specifics of the Boston-Verizon partnership, by the way. Just straying off topic a bit so as to give you some local flavor.)
Duh! 1/30/2018 | 11:10:08 AM
Re: Finding a balance @Joe:

I live and work in one of the leafy suburbs of Boston (one of those "W" towns), and do follow the local media.

Yes, IBEW Local 103. But really, Menino overplayed his hand on the cable franchise agreement in 2007-ish, and got "No FiOS for you". FiOS envy is a thing in the city. Boston CIO Jascha Franklin Hodge was floating the idea of a municipal network for a while. Ultimately, Bob Kraft brokered a meeting between Walsh and McAdam and that's what got the ball rolling. There was a Boston Globe article about how it came together, sometime in late spring 2016.

I don't recall anything in the contract about labor specifics. What I do understand is that Local 103 has a strong job protection clause in their contract, and construction is being done here by VZ employees that otherwise would have been contracted out.
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