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Monday, July 31, the 8th Circuit denied a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Order revising the Telecom Rate formula. The 2015 Order eliminated the urban and non-urban area distinctions in the Telecom Rate formula and set cost allocators for each pole depending on the number of attachments (66% for 5 attachers, 56% for 4 attachers, 44% for 3 attachers, 31% for 2 attachers). The Court held that the term “cost” in the Pole Attachments Act is ambiguous and thus, the FCC’s interpretation of the term cost in setting the Telecom Rate formula was reasonable and not improper.
The opinion further solidifies the FCC’s recent efforts to harmonize and depress rental rates. We expect the FCC to issue its 2017 pole attachments rulemaking decision in the coming months and will be sure to update you as soon as it is issued.