Broadband and Pole Attachments

ElectriCities supports broadband expansion to enhance the prosperity and livability of North Carolina’s communities and to further modernize the operation of electric utilities. At the same time, we oppose proposals that would subsidize broadband providers by shifting costs to electric customers via unfair pole attachment policies.

Unfortunately, North Carolina law makes it infeasible for municipalities to offer broadband services for the benefit of their communities and even makes it difficult to lease existing infrastructure to facilitate commercial broadband providers’ entry to the market. Neither Congress, nor states, should impose impediments to the deployment of broadband.

Learn more about our broadband and pole attachment priorities

Fair pole attachment policies

  • Public power utilities support collocation of communications infrastructure on existing electric utility poles. When costs are allocated fairly, collocation tends to reduce costs for all consumers.
  • Telecommunications companies should bear the full cost of broadband deployment.

Local control, local priorities

  • Local officials are in the best position to balance the need for broadband with other priorities in their communities.
  • Thus, we oppose efforts to weaken the exemption for public power utilities from federal pole attachment regulations; we oppose Federal Communication Commission (FCC) efforts to preempt state and local laws regarding pole attachment agreements; and we oppose state-level policies that would impose FCC-like policies on community-owned utilities.

Reliability and safety

  • As we work together to promote universal broadband, we must ensure that pole attachment policies preserve the reliability of the electric distribution system, protect the safety of all utility workers, and do not incorporate schemes that subsidize communications company shareholders at the expense of electric customers.

Electric customers should not subsidize internet customers

  • It is inequitable for all electric customers in a city to subsidize the subset of residents the telecommunications companies choose to serve.
  • If electric customers are to bear the cost of high-speed internet deployment, broadband providers should be required to serve every customer in the community and should face fines and penalties if they fail to meet that obligation.

Legislative Update

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