The rules governing the timeline for access to pole attachments and the use of utility-approved, independent contractors by attaching cable and telecommunications providers are now effective. New pole attachment rules were adopted by the Commission on April 7, 2011, as part of its Pole Attachments Order. While a portion of the new rules took effect June 8, 2011, the remaining rules that related to a timeline for access and use of contractors could not take effect until they were approved by the Office of Budget and Management (OMB).
Stage 1: Survey – The first stage of the timeline is the survey stage. During this stage, the pole owner has 45 days after receipt of a complete application to respond to the request for access to attach facilities on the utility’s poles and conduct an engineering study to determine feasibility of attachment, placement of the attachment and the necessity of make-ready. The current rules provide that if a utility denies a request for attachment, the utility must provide a written explanation of the denial that is specific, includes all supporting evidence and information and explains how such evidence and information relate to denial for lack of capacity, safety, reliability or engineering standards. Pole owners must “timely” notify the attacher of any errors in the application and may not stop the clock during the survey stage once an application is accepted as complete.
If an attachment request involves an attachment that is unfamiliar to the utility, the application should include engineering specifications. If engineering specifications are not included in the application, the utility must respond to the application within a “reasonable and timely” manner but no later than 45 days. The Commission has left the process for establishing engineering specifications up to the utility with the caveat that they must be “reasonable and timely.”
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