Serving the energy industry for over 30 years
By - Jon Brown

Utility Pole Attachments in the Age of COVID and 5G
Understanding Regulations and Industry Trends in Preparation for the Coming Workload
September 14, 2020 | Online :: Central Time

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Against the backdrop of ongoing deployment of 5G small cells and 4G densification, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the need for broadband access for all citizens, from school children to healthcare providers and teleworkers.  This has led to additional broadband and infrastructure investment by telecom companies, traditional electric utilities, and federal, state and local governments.

What does all this mean for existing pole owners and attachers — electric utilities, communications, and cable companies?  These events mean that, more than ever, it is important to ensure that joint use and pole attachment license agreements are up-to-date and in conformance with regulations, to understand and effectively administer those agreements to recover costs, and to seek solutions rather than conflicts with other pole owners and attaching entities.

Learning Outcomes

  • Consider practical frameworks that will set up the joint use function of your organization for success
  • Review the patchwork of federal, state, and local pole attachment laws and regulations as they apply to your situation
  • 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 poles
  • Analyze and understand the transfer process
  • Discuss how industry trends such as fiber deployment and wireless attachments are impacting pole owners
  • Formulate effective strategies for working with other parties to correct past mistakes and issues
  • Examine NESC issues related to pole attachments
  • Understand the business case for an effective inspection program
  • Consider potential software solutions for managing the coming workload



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 log in 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


Monday, September 14, 2020 Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. :: Log In and Welcome

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

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Lunch Break

Introduction and Course Overview

A New World of Communications and Technology

  • 5G and its impact on existing networks
  • Technology demands during the COVID-19 pandemic

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 applicable federal statutes

Federal Regulation of Wireline Pole Attachments

    • FCC rental rate formulas
    • Access requirements
    • One-touch make-ready

Federal Regulation of Wireless Attachments and Small Cells

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

Negotiating Pole Attachment Agreements

    • Types of agreements
    • Common contract provisions
    • Amending agreements vs. negotiating new agreements
    • Rental rates, inspections, fees and charges

Industry Trends and Current Issues Roundtable Discussion


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 100 joint use contracts across 10 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 nearly a decade, 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 2018 Third Report and Order, which modified the FCC’s make-ready and rate regulations to further accelerate deployment and bring parity to communications 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

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

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