Pole Replacement, Other Key Issues on the March FCC Open Commission Meeting Agenda

The contentious issue of pole replacement disputes is on the FCC’s March meeting agenda. This issue is of particular note with so much broadband expansion activity underway. There have been many disputes between utilities and telecom carriers regarding poles, as network expansion momentum accelerates.

In addition, the next step in the Connected Care Pilot Program is also on the agenda for the meeting, which will be held on March 16.

The tentative schedule of topics includes:

Selecting Final Round of Applicants for Connected Care Pilot Program: The Commission will consider a Public Notice announcing the fourth and final round of selections for the Commission’s Connected Care Pilot Program. The program provides Universal Service Fund (USF) support for health care providers making connected care services available directly to patients. This is WC Docket No. 18-213.

Preventing Digital Discrimination: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that would commence a proceeding aimed at preventing and eliminating digital discrimination. The NOI proceeding also would ensure that all people of the United States benefit from equal access to broadband service, consistent with Congress’s direction in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is GN Docket No. 22-69.

Resolving Pole Replacement Disputes: The Commission will consider a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) seeking comment on questions concerning the allocation of pole replacement costs between utilities and attachers and ways to expedite the resolution of pole replacement disputes. This is WC Docket No. 17-84.

The commissioners also will consider a restricted adjudicatory matter and a national a national security matter at the meeting. The draft text of items to be addressed at the meeting will be released, though those involving “specific national security, enforcement, or other sensitive predecisional information” will not be.


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