Recently there have been a lot of media stories and conversation about utility pole attachments and a One Touch Make Ready ordinance. This topic can be a little confusing because it’s a complex issue. We thought it might be helpful to provide some background and explanation on the subject.
Utility Pole Attachments
In order to deliver internet, phone and TV services, providers like AT&T, Comcast, Google and others need to attach cables to existing utility poles around the city. The Federal Communications Commission requires the local utility company provide telecommunication companies access to utility poles. Since the majority of these poles are owned by NES, there is a standard process that must be followed.
1. All companies wishing to attach to an NES power pole must first sign a standard infrastructure use agreement.
2. Once an agreement is in place, attachment requests for various poles and routes are submitted to NES by the attaching company. Within a standard infrastructure agreement, communications companies are permitted to request attachments for up to 100 poles within a 30-day period.
3. NES reviews each application with the goal to provide a response within 45 days.
4. Upon completion of reviewing the application, NES sends an estimate to the provider, and once approved, all companies with attachments on the specific poles are notified and asked to rearrange their lines in order to make space for the new attachment.
5. NES performs an initial inspection of their work and, if approved, licenses the new provider to attach their cable.
6. The new provider attaches their cable.
7. NES performs a final inspection upon completion of attachment work; once approved, the process is complete.
Recent growth in the Middle Tennessee area has brought with it an increase in pole attachment requests. At times, attachment applications exceed the maximum 100 poles. When larger volumes are expected, NES has a practice of working with communications providers to adjust resources and processes to meet their needs. This includes understanding their planned volume of work and schedule, agreeing on necessary resources, and gaining a joint commitment to the plan.
One Touch Make Ready
To expedite the process from the communications provider perspective, Google Fiber introduced the One Touch Make Ready ordinance. Under the current pole attachment process, all attachers rearrange each of their lines in order to make space for a new provider’s attachment. One Touch Make Ready would provide for an approved contractor to move all the attachments on a pole at the same time.
NES is dedicated and cooperative towards finding a resolution that will accommodate the efficient and effective deployment of broadband services that promote customer choice and competition and improve the lives of the citizens of Nashville.