Having made significant progress re-drafting and updating the 30 year old pole attachment rules for the state, the MPUC is now considering when to address the issue of rates. This is an important issue for third party attachers, a group consisting largely of cable TV companies and competitive ISPs – providers who rely on utility poles but do not generally own and maintain them.
Pole attachment fees are a recurring charge paid annually to the pole owning utilities, namely the power company and the local exchange telephone company. What those pole owning utilities charge a cableco or ISP can determine where and when broadband competition comes to a town or neighborhood. As an open-access middle mile dark fiber leasing company, MFC is attached to over 31,000 poles in the state. Pole attachment fees are a big part of our operating expenses, so we encourage the MPUC to address the issue of rates as quickly as possible. Knowing Maine has fair and predictable pole attachment processes and nationally competitive rates will encourage further investment by ISPs and other broadband enablers like MFC.