By - Jon Brown

Utility Pole Attachments: Understanding New FCC Regulations and Joint Use Management
July 28-29, 2020 | Denver, CO

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The Trump Administration brought an increased focus on pole attachments and the infrastructure investment needed to close the digital divide and ensure that all Americans enjoy broadband connectivity.  During the first two years of the Administration, the Federal Communications Commission commenced rulemakings intended to further promote broadband deployment on utility poles, established a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, issued a decision in the closely-watched Verizon v. Dominion pole attachment complaint proceeding and successfully defended revisions to its telecom rate methodology on appeal.  Meanwhile, States and local governments nationwide have considered and enacted wireless small cell legislation supporting 5G deployment on utility poles and other structures in the right-of-way.  2019 promises 5G rollout and 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 that each pole owner and attacher understand rapidly changing technology and the regulatory environment.  This program will provide attendees with information to help pole owners and attachers understand their rights and responsibilities so they can effectively administer pole attachment agreements in compliance with the law and revise or replace those agreements when necessary or advisable.

Learning Outcomes

This program is designed for attendees to:

  • Review the history and future of joint use and shared infrastructure and the technological advances and current policy objectives that have led to the active regulatory environment
  • Identify how industry trends such as fiber and 5G wireless deployment are impacting pole owners and attachers
  • Discuss the reach of federal law and its impact on deployment on utility poles and other infrastructure in the right-of-way
  • Examine the rights and obligations of utilities and joint-users/third-party attachers on new and existing utility pole infrastructure in various jurisdictions
  • Review common joint use and pole attachment license agreement provisions and their practical implications
  • Calculate the FCC maximum allowable rate for wireline and wireless pole attachments
  • Formulate effective strategies for working with attachers and joint-users to correct past mistakes and prepare for future attachments
  • Examine NESC issues related to pole attachments



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 1.0 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, July 28, 2020

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

1:00 – 4:30 p.m. :: Course Timing

Introduction and Course Overview

Promoting Broadband: What is 5G and How Will Its Deployment Impact Existing Networks?

  • How is 5G different and what will it offer?
  • How will it be deployed?
  • How will it impact and transform the existing wireline network?

History of Joint Use and the Regulation of Shared Infrastructure

  • Electric power, wireline telephone, cable television, wireless service, 5G
  • Federal policy objectives

The Federal Pole Attachment Act and Its Amendments

  • State vs. Federal regulation
  • Investor-owned utilities vs. electric cooperatives and municipal utilities
  • Other federal statutes relevant to deployment in the right-of-way

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

Federal Regulation of Wireline Pole Attachments

  • FCC rental rate formulas
  • Access requirements

Federal Regulation of Wireless Attachments and Small Cells

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

Recent FCC Proceedings and Related Issues

  • One-touch make-ready, complex make-ready, make-ready design requirements, make-ready timelines
  • Approved contractor lists and managing contractor quality
  • Overlashing and strand mounting
  • ILEC pole attachment rental rates
  • Fees for use of the rights-of-way
  • Status of pending appeals

Joint Use Agreements and License Agreements

  • Standard terms and conditions
  • Issues with vintage agreements
  • Negotiating amendments or new agreements
  • Publication of template license agreements

Best Practices for Managing Joint Use Agreements and License Agreements

  • The permitting process
  • Make-ready
  • Special cases: guys/anchors/risers/pedestals
  • Transfer software options, tips and tricks
  • Late transfers and pole ownership transfers
  • Modifying existing joint use poles – What is billable?

Correcting Past Issues and Preparing for the Future

  • Pole attachment inventories, cost-sharing, and prorated billing
  • NESC clearance requirements, violations, and remedies
  • Pole ownership objectives
  • Stranded assets
  • Database applications, drones, GIS mapping, and AI alternatives

Industry Trends, Predictions, and Questions


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.

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


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EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, June 05, 2020
Standard RateAttendees
Utility Pole Attachments: Understanding New FCC Regulations and Joint Use Management [POSTPONED]US $ 1195.00 US $ 1395.00

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