By Gary Bolton (ADTRAN) - Chair of Committee, Tom Cohen (Kelley Drye)
Public Policy Report – 3rd Quarter 2018
We enjoyed a very productive Fiber Broadband Association board meeting in DC last week as our new President and CEO Lisa Youngers is now fully at the helm and is leading our organization forward. Washington is always an interesting place and definitely never short of drama with the Kavanaugh hearing. We continue to see the FCC take certain steps in its Infrastructure dockets and help streamline 5G deployment across the US. The Fiber Broadband Association Policy Committee was very active over the summer and secured some major victories for our membership, most notably the FCC’s adoption of the pole attachment reform order. In addition the Fiber Broadband Association is encouraging the FCC to track all-fiber deployments in its 706 reporting and we teamed with NTIA in an effort to expand broadband access.
Below, you’ll find a quick update on our policy activity for the Quarter and our key positions. We hold monthly policy calls and we welcome members to participate and contribute on our committee.
Public Policy Committee Mission
The Fiber Broadband Association Public Policy Committee seeks to advance the Association’s interest in accelerating the deployment of fiber to all Americans by selectively participating in government proceedings where the outcome will “move the needle” on all-fiber deployments and where we can most efficiently use our resources.
FCC Pole Attachment Reform Order
The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) had a major public policy victory in August with the
Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adoption of its pole attachment reform order. For over a year, the FBA has been working with the FCC to improve the pole attachment process to facilitate the deployment of all-fiber networks. FBA submitted many lengthy filings to the FCC over the past 18 months on how to improve the process based on the views of its members, including Verizon, Google, Cincinnati Bell, and Hotwire. Most recently, Lisa Youngers, FBA President/CEO, explained to the FCC. “Poles, ducts, and conduit are critical infrastructure for telecommunications and cable (as well as broadband) network deployments…and [by expediting attachments], OTMR holds out the promise of bringing all-fiber broadband service to many more locations in a much shorter timeframe.” FBA, therefore, was pleased that the FCC adopted an order that enables One-Touch Make-Ready (OTMR) for wireline attachments in the communications space. The FCC also adopted improvements to the attachment process for complex make-ready and for attachers that do not want to use OTMR, and it facilitated overlashing existing wires with fiber, which can greatly accelerate the attachment process. Of course, while FBA welcomes the new order, it will be critical to ensure it is implemented fully. So, if you have any pole attachment problems, please let us know.
During the past quarter, FBA also submitted a letter to the House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee in support of the BroadbandUSA program operated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). FBA has teamed with NTIA to expand broadband access, and it believes that legislation endorsing this program will not only help educate consumers and communities about getting the broadband infrastructure they need but will help streamline federal programs.
FCC’s 14th Broadband Progress Report (Sect. 706 of the Telecom Act)
Finally, FBA most recently filed comments in the FCC’s annual inquiry about progress in deploying advanced communications infrastructure. FBA again highlighted the importance of tracking all-fiber deployments, and it called on the FCC to alter the way it determines whether there is reasonable progress in deploying advanced communications infrastructure – from a standard that only includes download speed to one that includes the entire broadband experience, from speed to latency to reliability. Michael Render has been working with the FBA Technology Committee on an experience metric, and we referred to his work in our comments.
Again, we welcome members to join us on the Public Policy Committee and we will continue to work strategic advocacy in an effort to accelerate the deployment of fiber networks. Please feel free to reach out to myself, Lisa, Tom or any member of the Public Policy Committee if you have any questions, concerns or wish to have further information.
Gary Bolton (ADTRAN)
Public Policy Committee Chair
Fiber Broadband Association Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors