FCC to Vote on OTMR in August
On July 12th, the Federal Communications Commission released an announcement of their agenda for the August Open Meeting. On this agenda is voting for a Report and Order as well as a Declaratory Ruling for accelerating broadband deployment. The Report and Order has four major points:
Allow attachers to use one touch make ready processes to complete simple make ready applications, establish OTMR safeguards and promote coordination between parties, and modify complex make ready process to improve deployment speed
Codify existing overlash precedent that allows attachers to do so without first seeking approval (given they provide reasonable notice)
Fix the rate disparity between incumbent carriers and other similar cable and fiber attachers
Note that the FCC will preempt (case-by-case) local and state laws that slow the restoration of broadband after a disaster
The Declaratory Ruling is focused on ending local and state moratoria that have been inhibiting telecommunications services despite being barred by section 253(a) of the Communications Act.
What does this mean?
The Report and Order, as well as the Declaratory Ruling, are taking aim at some of the biggest barriers that the telecommunications industry is facing. The concept of one touch make ready for simple make ready applications is particularly exciting because it drastically improves both project timelines and make ready costs. Instead of multiple trips by multiple construction companies to prepare a single pole, this OTMR proposal allows all communications cable moves to be performed at once.
For the many situations that require power make ready or pole replacement (complex make ready), the FCC is also seeking to make adjustments within the multi-party system to abbreviate the often lagging project timelines.
The FCC also addresses the harsh reality that coordination failures often result in "unwarranted delay," and addresses some issues with accurate billing.