Utility Pole Attachments Post-Pandemic

Live Streaming Online October 28, 2021

An EUCI Program

Click Here to register ($795)


The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for reliable, affordable, and ubiquitous broadband access for all citizens, from school children to healthcare providers and teleworkers.  Achieving this goal requires significant investment by telecommunications, broadband, and wireless providers and the shared use of infrastructure owned by telecom companies, traditional electric utilities, and federal, state and local governments. Both Trump and Biden Administrations have directed billions of dollars in funding to the deployment of fiber through COVID relief packages, RDOF auctions, and grant funding initiatives. New players from electric cooperatives to satellite providers have entered the broadband game.  Telecom companies have announced initiatives to pass millions of homes with fiber. This wave of capital investment will create more demand than ever on our existing pole infrastructure. Further, pole attachment regulations have been introduced or revised by many state legislatures or public service commissions to encourage broadband deployment.

What does all this mean for pole owners and attachers — electric utilities, communications, and cable companies?  It is essential to understand the laws and regulations that apply (or don’t apply), to ensure that joint use and pole attachment agreements are up-to-date and in conformance with applicable law and regulations, to understand and effectively administer those agreements to recover costs, and to seek solutions rather than conflicts with other pole owners and attaching entities.

Learning Outcomes

  • Consider practical frameworks that will set up the joint use function of your organization for success
  • Review the patchwork of federal, state, and local pole attachment laws and regulations as they apply to your situation
  • Review common joint use and pole attachment license agreement provisions and their practical implications
  • Identify how to calculate the FCC maximum allowable rate for pole attachments
  • Examine the rights and obligations of utilities and joint-users/third-party attachers on new and existing poles
  • Analyze and understand the transfer process
  • Discuss how industry trends such as fiber deployment and wireless attachments are impacting pole owners
  • Formulate effective strategies for working with other parties to correct past mistakes and issues
  • Examine NESC issues related to pole attachments
  • Discuss the business case for an effective inspection program



9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Introduction and Course Overview

A Nationwide Focus on 5G and Broadband Deployment

  • Closing the digital divide
  • Federal, State, and local priorities
  • Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

History of Joint Use and the Regulation of Shared Infrastructure

  • Electric power, wireline telephone, cable television, wireless service, 5G
  • Federal and state policy objectives

The Federal Pole Attachment Act and Its Amendments

  • State vs. federal regulation
  • Investor-owned utilities vs. electric cooperatives and municipal utilities
  • Other applicable federal and state statutes

Federal Regulation of Wireline Pole Attachments

  • FCC rental rate formulas
  • Access requirements
  • One-touch make-ready

Federal Regulation of Wireless Attachments and Small Cells

  • Federal vs. State and local regulation
  • FCC rental rate formulas
  • Pole-top access requirement

Negotiating Pole Attachment Agreements

  • Types of agreements
  • Common contract provisions
  • Amending agreements vs. negotiating new agreements
  • Rental rates, inspections, fees and charges

New Joint Use – The Essentials to Ensure Proper Attachments

  • Cost recovery: The permit process and make-ready
  • Pole-loading analysis and permitting software options
  • Special cases: guys/anchors/risers/pedestals

Existing Joint Use – Modifications and Transfers

  • Transfer software options, tips and tricks
  • Late transfers and pole ownership transfers
  • Modifying existing joint use poles – What is billable?

Correcting Past Issues

  • Pole attachment inventories, cost-sharing and prorated billing
  • NESC clearance requirements, violations and remedies
  • Pole ownership
  • Stranded assets