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Articles

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Pole Attachment Rules

February 26, 2013

Articles

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Pole Attachment Rules

February 26, 2013

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On February 26, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a unanimous decision rejecting the appeal filed by a coalition of electric utilities of the new pole attachment rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In its appeal, the coalition of utilities challenged the following aspects of the FCC’s new rules: (1) the grant of certain pole access rights to incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs); (2) the FCC’s reformulation of the “telecom rate” for pole attachments; and (3) the new rule allowing complaining attachers to claim refunds for overcharges dating back to “the applicable statute of limitations” rather than from the date of the initial complaint. The DC Circuit rejected the coalition’s arguments on each of these issues and held that the FCC had sufficient statutory authority to adopt these new rules and policies governing pole attachments.

The coalition of utilities now has the option of filing a petition for rehearing or may consider appealing the DC Circuit’s decision to the US Supreme Court.  Unless and until any further appeals are decided, this decision means that the FCC’s new rules regarding these issues remain in full force and effect.

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