FCC Pole Attachment Timelines
Updated: Mar 20
A Change of Status Quo
If you haven’t heard by now, the FCC recently proposed a timeline change for those attaching to utility poles.
A big reason for this proposed change is that pole owners don’t really have an incentive to let others attach to their poles. If the FCC didn’t require it by law, many pole owners would prohibit others from attaching to their property. The current FCC pole attachment timeline allows pole owners to delay the attachment application process for up to 19 weeks before attachers can begin constructing their new projects.
For those planning to add miles of fiber and delivering new services to the end consumer, these delays are costly and damaging to the project's momentum. One of the biggest portions of the current timeline is "application review and survey" (currently 45 days). The proposed timeline cuts this down to 15 days, which will cause real problems for those trying to hit the deadline.
Though there are proposed exceptions that will extend the timeline for huge projects, there will still be a major paradigm shift--especially since many miss the FCC timeline as it currently stands.
Reviewing an application traditionally requires scheduling, traveling, and engineering before the first piece of survey data can be collected. In the scheme of 45 days, being a week behind might not be a huge deal. When the timeline is only 15 days, it’s a completely different story.
How Will the Industry Adjust?
One-touch make ready is a real contender for solving this problem, because it will allow a pre-approved third party to perform make ready on all of a pole’s cables at one time. This stands in stark contrast to the current system, which requires each company to ride out and move their cables in the order that they are attached on the pole. Not only will the approved third party be able to perform all the make ready at one time, they will also be trained to work with each party's equipment and cables, minimizing liability.
In order for this third party to be successful, a platform that allows all parties to view the poles and sign-off on proposed make ready would need to exist. Additionally, the platform would need to be full-stack, easy-to-use, and allow the third party to submit photo documentation of their work for the pole and cable owners to review.
A platform like this already exists.
At Katapult Engineering, we’ve spent years developing our software into the most efficient and accurate data collection and documentation tool available. We’ve been pushing the telecom industry to adopt a smarter workflow for years, and our methodology is uniquely suited to assist those who are interested in aggressive broadband deployment.
What Can I Do?
Be proactive. Traditional data collection and documentation processes won’t be enough to keep up with new timelines and aggressive deployment strategies. Give your organization an advantage over your competition by investing in the future and exploring highly-efficient, innovative workflow alternatives.