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Utilities: Here’s What You Need To Prepare For The New OTMR Rules

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I co-wrote this article with Katapult COO Andrew Bryden, as a part of a series in preparing pole owners and attachers for the new FCC attachment timelines and one-touch make ready (OTMR).

“I am a utility and our applicants want to use the OTMR process. What do I need to do?”

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to do anything. The new FCC attachment rules are written in such a way that inaction will allow the applicant to proceed with OTMR engineering and construction on their own. These rules only apply to “simple” make ready applications (no splicing, power MR, or pole replacements), but that means applicants will be motivated to choose routes that allow them to proceed with OTMR on their own.

Despite the rules not requiring any immediate action from utilities, we recommend that you do the following to ensure that high-quality work is being performed on your poles:

1) Create a publicly available list of approved OTMR engineering and construction contractors. Having a list of approved OTMR contractors ensures that applicants have to utilize a team whose work you are familiar with and trust to analyze and perform construction on your distribution poles.

2) Publish your requirements for OTMR applications. If your team requires loading analysis, photo documentation, or other specifics, make sure that these details are publicly available to your applicants.

3) Conduct post- make ready inspections. This is your primary tool to hold attachers and contractors accountable under the new OTMR process. Surveying each OTMR application will give your team a good idea of which contractors are meeting your safety standards and which are not. You can also use these findings to give positive feedback to applicants and contractors who are doing great work.

“What’s the biggest change coming with OTMR?”

The FCC’s new pole attachment process puts a lot of control in your applicants’ hands. In this new environment, utilities must ensure quality and safety by holding applicants accountable for their OTMR work, as opposed to tightening control over their applications.

By reviewing OTMR engineering, observing OTMR construction. and conducting post-OTMR surveys, your team should get a strong sense for which contractors should remain on your approved OTMR list. This level of vetting will guarantee that applicants are utilizing their new capabilities in a safe and effective way.

“What if an applicant is consistently violating our requirements?”

Your team has the right to rescind an applicant’s permission to use OTMR, and you will also be able to remove contractors from your approved list if they fail to meet your expected safety and quality standards.

What we can do to help:

KatapultPro is an excellent answer to the accountability and transparency problem that OTMR presents. The data collection stack is safe and efficient, and the live data can be made available to all parties who are present on your poles. With seamless integration into our third-party attachments frontend, KatapultPro becomes a full-stack solution to equip your team for the challenges of OTMR.

KatapultPro Frontend for Third Party Attachers

Send me an email at aschmehl@katapultengineering.com to learn more!

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