Recently the FCC announced new rules that would help speed up the rollout of 5G. Now the American Electric Power Service Corporation has sued the FCC with the hopes to block the new rules in order to get a court review of the changes the FCC has made. These new rules would allow fiber and small 5G cells to be placed on existing utility poles far faster than under the old rules. These new rules also set limits on how long it utilizes can take to review requests to add equipment to poles and limits what can be charged.
Now with the updated FCC rules groups will be required to approve or deny deployment of new small wireless facilities within 90 days, or just 60 days if added to existing equipment. In the past, it often took months to approve new changes to current poles. The FCC also argued that companies were making new compers pay to correct violations that already existed on the pole if they wanted to add new equipment to the pole the new FCC rules put an end to this.
As you would expect this has upset some utilities and the American Electric Power Service Corporation has sued to stop these new rules as they request the Judge for a review of the FCC order. The FCC says these new rules are important for the nation as part of the growth of high-speed internet and 5G.
In the FCC response to the lawsuit it said:
“After further consideration and in light of the national importance of a speedy rollout of 5G services,” the Commission amended its rules “to allow new attachers to invoke the self-help remedy for work above the communications space, including the installation of wireless 5G small cells, when utilities and existing attachers have not met make-ready work deadlines.”
You can read the FCC’s full reply to the lawsuit HERE.
In the lawsuit, the American Electric Power Service Corporation asks the court to review if the FCC “Commission err in determining that compensation for attachments to public power utility poles is limited to costs?” The lawsuit also asks the Judge to review if the “Commission err in imposing “shot clocks” on public power utility reviews of wireless carrier application requests to access utility poles and by requiring that such review periods be undertaken simultaneously with any required local government permitting or zoning reviews?” (These are just a few of the points the American Electric Power Service Corporation is asking the Judge to review.)
Now the real question is what does this mean for the future of the new FCC rules that are aimed at speeding up the rollout of the 5G and fiber on existing utility poles. For now, we will have to wait and see what the Judge rules.
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