Utility Pole Attachments: Understanding New FCC Regulations and Industry Trends
May 15-16, 2018
Nashville, TN

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The first year of the Trump Administration brought an increased focus on the world of shared infrastructure. The Federal Communications Commission issued a decision in the closely-watched Verizon v. Dominion pole attachment complaint proceeding, commenced rulemakings intended to further promote broadband deployment, established a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, and successfully defended revisions to its telecom rate methodology on appeal. Debates continued about Net Neutrality, local control of infrastructure, and rural broadband funding. Elsewhere, wireless small cell legislation in support of 5G deployment was enacted or considered in at least 23 states, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has rolled out a new regulatory framework for the pole attachment rental rates charged by its distributors. 2018 promises to be year with significant state and federal developments impacting shared infrastructure.

What does all this mean for electric utilities, communications, and cable companies? These legal developments, policy goals, and emerging industry trends underscore the importance of understanding the rapidly changing regulatory environment so that pole owners and attachers effectively administer their pole attachment agreements in compliance with the law and revise or replace those agreements when necessary or advisable.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review common joint use and pole attachment license agreement provisions and their practical implications
  • Identify how to calculate the FCC maximum allowable rate for pole attachments
  • Examine the rights and obligations of utilities and joint-users/third-party attachers on new and existing joint use poles
  • Analyze NJUNS and the transfer process
  • Discuss how industry trends such as fiber deployment and wireless attachments are impacting pole owners
  • Formulate effective strategies for working with attachers and joint-users to correct past mistakes and issues
  • Examine NESC issues related to pole attachments
  • Review the business case for an effective inspection program



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.9 CEUs for this event.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Power point presentation, open discussion


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Introduction and Conference Overview

History of Joint Use and the Regulation of Shared Infrastructure

  • The Federal Pole Attachment Act and its amendments
  • Federal policy objectives
  • Recent FCC proceedings

Applicability of the Federal Pole Attachment Act

  • State vs. federal regulation
  • Investor-owned utilities vs. electric cooperatives and municipal utilities

Joint Use Agreements and License Agreements

  • Standard terms and conditions
  • Issues with vintage agreements
  • Negotiating amendments or new agreements

Federal Regulation of Wireline Pole Attachments

  • FCC rental rate formulas
  • Access requirements
  • Make-ready timelines

The Essentials to Ensure Proper Attachments

  • The permit process
  • Make-ready
  • Special cases: guys/anchors/risers/pedestals

Modifications and Transfers

  • Transfer software options, tips and tricks
  • Late transfers and pole ownership transfers
  • Modifying existing joint use poles – What is billable?

Correcting Past Issues

  • Pole attachment inventories, cost-sharing, and prorated billing
  • NESC clearance requirements, violations, and remedies
  • Pole ownership objectives
  • Stranded assets

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Course Timing

Regulation of Wireless Attachments and Small Cells

  • Federal vs. State and local regulation
  • FCC rental rate formula
  • Pole-top access requirement
  • Make-ready timeline

Pole Attachment Rate Calculations

  • Calculation of rental rates under the FCC’s formulas
  • Rental rates for wireless attachments
  • Alternative methods and sample rates, including TVA

Industry Trends and Current Issues Roundtable Discussion

  • Recent FCC proceedings and decisions
  • One-touch make-ready
  • Small Cell/5G deployment
  • TVA
  • Rural Broadband


Sean Knowles, Principal, Pole Attachment Services/VP, Business Development, McLean Engineering

Sean Knowles joined McLean Engineering in 2009.  Over the past eight years, McLean has grown its distribution engineering, inspection and pole attachment practice to include investor-owned utility, electric cooperative, and municipal utility clients across the US.  Sean’s primary responsibilities related to pole attachments include project development, overall project management and project payback, as well as pole attachment contract development, pole attachment rental rate calculation and contract advisement and negotiation.  Sean has written, spoken and taught on pole attachment topics throughout the country.

Prior to coming to McLean Engineering, Sean earned a Master of Business Administration from Duke University, where he ran the Duke Start-up Challenge business plan competition.  Prior to Duke, Sean worked for six years in the United States Senate, the last four of which he spent as a staff member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, during which time he negotiated eight public laws allocating military spending, traveled to 13 countries conducting project oversight, analyzed over 2,000 construction projects and allocated over $50 billion in funding for the Department of Defense (DOD).  Sean’s experience during his tenure on the Appropriations Committee included oversight of the DOD’s utilities privatization program.  Prior to his work in the Senate, Sean earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Texas Tech University.

Chad David, Director, Joint Use and Pole Attachment Services, McLean Engineering

Chad manages day-to-day implementation of client pole attachment agreements for electric utility clients.  This includes managing over 80 joint use contracts across 5 states.  His responsibilities include management of the permitting process from beginning to completion, including costing, make-ready, and inspection, to ensure utilities recover costs; administration of foreign attachment transfers and left-in-place poles; National Joint Use Notification System (NJUNS) set up and training; assistance with management of attachment transfers; resolution of issues with “non-performing” attachers and code violations; and annual billing for attachers and joint users.  Chad rose quickly through the ranks at McLean, beginning as a field inspector and working as a GIS analyst, giving him an end-to-end understanding of the pole attachment process.

Prior to his work at McLean Engineering, Chad worked in the insurance industry, where he developed financial analytical skills, and as a Forester for the Georgia Forestry Commission, where he developed technical GIS skills.

Chris Huther, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP

For two decades, Chris has successfully represented communications companies in negotiations, litigations, and regulatory proceedings involving infrastructure, rate, and utility pole issues.  He is recognized as an authority on joint use issues and has been named a “recommended lawyer” by The Legal 500

In recent years, Chris has negotiated settlement, joint use, and pole attachment agreements with investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives, and municipal utilities, mediated and arbitrated disputes over the terms of existing joint use and pole attachment agreements, supported broadband deployment efforts nationwide, through counseling, negotiations, and litigation, served as lead counsel for telecommunications companies in Pole Attachment Complaint proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau, and defended telecommunications companies in litigation filed in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia over the rates, terms, and conditions of joint use and pole attachment agreements.

Claire Evans, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP

For the past five years, Claire has worked closely with Chris on all pole attachment and infrastructure matters, including the first Pole Attachment Complaint filed by an ILEC after the FCC issued its 2011 Pole Attachment Order.  More recently, Claire represented communications companies in their support of the FCC’s 2015 Order on Reconsideration, which modified the FCC rate formulas to bring parity to telecommunications company and cable company attachers.

Before joining Wiley Rein, Claire obtained significant “inside” experience at all levels of the judicial system, having served as a law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and District Court.  Claire has also been named a “recommended lawyer” by The Legal 500


Radisson Nashville Airport
1112 Airport Center Drive
Nashville, TN 37214

To reserve your room, please call 1-615-889-9090 or book online here.
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $135.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of May 14 – 15, 2018.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to  April 30, 2018. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


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