What They Are Saying

Americans are speaking out about the importance of closing the digital divide by breaking down the financial, legal, regulatory, technological and commercial barriers to expanding broadband to the Americans who need it.

Here’s what they’re saying about the importance of creating opportunities for all Americans by expanding broadband access:

“As the Petition states, ‘make-ready’ costs are driven substantially by the need for pole replacements and can represent as much as one third of the total expense of a buildout project. The cost of replacing a pole is often borne entirely by the broadband provider and attaching entity as a condition of access to the poles. Disagreements between attaching entities and pole owners inhibit timely deployment in unserved areas, and any national strategy to expand broadband access must address this issue.” 

Representative Anna Eshoo

“With much of the country’s rural broadband infrastructure carried by utility poles, the rules governing how broadband companies attach to poles are critical to deploying broadband. It is our understanding that these costs can wind up consisting of as much as 35 percent of the total cost of a rural broadband expansion project, and that does not even count the considerable time delays to building the infrastructure that can occur when broadband companies don’t receive pole permits in a timely fashion. We are concerned that the current process of adding new broadband infrastructure to these poles is unnecessarily delaying — and even preventing — rural buildout.”

Representatives Anthony Gonzalez and Darin LaHood

“Much of the country’s broadband infrastructure is carried by cables attached to utility poles, which provide a crucial link between many rural homes and businesses across the country. Given the critical nature of pole access, the FCC’s pole attachment rules were developed at the direction of Congress to ensure fair and timely access. However, when it comes to actually deploying new broadband infrastructure, this process is too often complex and costly. The FCC’s broad authority in this space should be employed to ensure a more predictable and equitable process.”

Representative Doris Matsui

“In the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Congress granted the FCC broad authority to craft regulations that balance the rights and responsibilities of pole owners with those who need to attach to them. Too often, however, the process of adding new broadband infrastructure to these poles has been inefficient and cumbersome. The process today routinely involves a complex web of owners and regulators across different jurisdictions that increases costs and delays – and even prevents – rural broadband buildout. Accordingly, I encourage the FCC to move quickly to clarify its existing rules regarding utility pole access.”

Representative G.K. Butterfield

“…I have heard from countless family farmers who desperately need more robust, effective, and efficient deployment of rural broadband to their homes – which also serve as their business locations. Much of the country’s rural broadband infrastructure is built upon and supplied by utility poles; this makes the governance and costs over the placement or replacement of these poles vitally important to my constituents.”

Representative Troy Balderson

LULAC, Hispanic Federation, Latino Farmers and Ranchers

Innovation Economy Institute, Institute for Policy Innovation, Digital Liberty, Tech Freedom, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, Less Government, Center for Individual Freedom

International Center for Law and Economics

The Free State Foundation

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Americans for Tax Reform