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Attachers: 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 the second in a series on the FCC’s new pole attachment rules featuring one-touch make ready.

“I am an attacher who wants to use the new OTMR process to accelerate the process. What do I need to do to make this happen?”

The FCC’s new OTMR rules put a lot of power in your hands, but your team will have to meet all the safety standards set in place by the pole owners. Failure to do so could result in rescinded permission to use the OTMR process.

1) Choose a qualified engineering contractor from your utility’s OTMR-approved contractor list. This is the team that will survey, analyze clearances, and perform pole loading analysis for your application. Before collecting any data, they will notify existing attachers of the survey work so that those on the pole have a chance to observe the survey. After analyzing the survey data, the engineering contractor will determine which poles are eligible for the OTMR process.These poles can be submitted (with the appropriate documentation) as an OTMR application. Poles that require “complex” make ready (splicing, secondary/neutral/streetlight moves, reframing primaries, pole replacements, etc.) will not be eligible for OTMR and must be submitted using the typical process.

2) Choose a qualified construction contractor from your utility’s OTMR-approved contractor list. This team will notify affected parties of when they will conduct make ready construction, and those attachers will have a chance to observe the construction. Once the construction is complete, the contractor will notify all affected parties and the utility so that all parties have a chance to conduct a post- OTMR inspection.

3) Choose a qualified contractor to fix any deficiencies discovered during the post- OTMR inspections. The utility’s chosen post- OTMR inspection contractor will perform a survey of the OTMR construction and notify your team of any safety violations discovered. If the utility deems it necessary, they may perform the work themselves and send your team an invoice. Utilities are able to revoke your access to the OTMR process if they determine that OTMR work was executed in bad faith.

“What do these changes really mean for me and my team?”

The new OTMR regime will drastically speed up deployment of fiber across the country, and lower make ready costs for eligible applications.

The previous rules allowed pole owners to have almost total control of the application process, which allowed utilities to ensure that the process gave due focus on safety and engineering to meet their standards and specifications. The new process strips this control from pole owners, so transparency, communication, and post- OTMR inspections will become crucial for maintaining utilities’ safety practices.

For more information about what these OTMR rules mean for utilities, check out our last article.

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