CPUC takes on "last remaining natural monopoly" of pole, conduit ownership

20 January 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,


The California Public Utilities Commission will focus on a particular kind of utility in the coming year. President Michael Picker delivered what amounts to a state-of-the-CPUC address at yesterday’s meeting, the first of the year and the first with the two newest commissioners – Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen – on board and voting.

Picker spoke at length about new energy and environmental initiatives and, particularly, about “an emerging role in building the infrastructure to drive greenhouse gas emissions down in the California economy”.… More

Broadband, conduit bills left stranded in Washington, D.C.

13 December 2016 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

The 114th congress ended with a stack of unfinished broadband business. The most consequential might be the failure to confirm Jessica Rosenworcel for a new term on the Federal Communications Commission, but buried in the wreckage of more than a dozen broadband-related bills are hints of what to expect from the new congress and the new administration next year.

The one major bill with a chance to pass muster with lawmakers as well as the white house was the Mobile Now act.… More

Free access to public streets is a gift with strings, not AT&T's monopoly right

18 July 2016 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

The streets of San Francisco already take a beating.

AT&T wants to decide where and how competitors install fiber in conduit, manholes and handholes that it owns. That’s the gist of its response to a complaint filed by Webpass with the California Public Utilities Commission.

California law requires any utility – telecoms or electric – that installs poles and conduit in the public right of way to share those facilities with any qualified competitor. Utilities can use this public property for free, but that gift comes with strings attached.… More

Competitive ISPs need access to conduit, but it has be there in the first place

4 July 2016 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

The need for open trench notification policies is particularly acute when a local agency restricts future cuts into a given street, after the completion of a trenching or repaving project. But the need to rapidly respond to changes in the broadband industry and market conditions means that a new, or newly expanding, competitive Internet service provider is a disadvantage if, say, a five year moratorium was put into effect on a particular street three years ago, before the company was even founded.… More

California conduit battle continues as AT&T dances around the question

24 June 2016 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Webpass’ fight with AT&T over access to conduit continues. That’s the word from a Kind Reader of this humble blog who seems to be in a position to know. Yesterday’s post about the complaint Webpass has filed with the California Public Utilities Commission about AT&T’s conduit access practices was behind events on a couple of points. I didn’t know the outcome of last week’s hearing or the fact that Google Fiber bought Webpass on Wednesday.… More

Webpass challenges AT&T's iron grip on conduit

23 June 2016 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Splice case in AT&T manhole, click for the big picture.

Update: Webpass was just acquired by Google Fiber. That won’t have an immediate impact on the proceeding – lots of hoops to jump through first – but long term, it’ll be fun to watch. Stay tuned.

Telephone companies and other regulated utilities have to share conduit and pole access. They can charge each other a particular rate for it or, if usable space is lacking, require upgrades.… More

Federal broadband development policy moves ahead in congress

7 December 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Easier access on the horizon.

The U.S. house of representative’s communications and technology subcommittee approved a package of broadband development measures on Wednesday, aimed at making it easier to use federal property to build infrastructure and publish more information about existing facilities. The bill includes dig once language developed by Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo. As currently drafted, the bill would establish

  • An inventory of federal broadband assets, and any broadband asset information voluntarily provided by state or local governments.

Proposed federal broadband infrastructure package includes dig once

1 December 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

“Dig once” requirements for federal highway projects might not have made it into a recent transportation bill, but the U.S. house of representative’s communications subcommittee will vote tomorrow on a bigger package of broadband development measures that includes it. According to a story in Broadband and Cable, the package also includes common deal terms, greater access to poles, a federal broadband asset inventory, and streamlined permits and environmental clearances. The details of the bill aren’t available right now, but you can find links to the proposed bills that led to it here.

Congress sends highway conduit bill into the slow lane

28 November 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Broadband conduit won’t be getting a fast track into federal highway projects. A bill sponsored by Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo would require broadband considerations, and conduit in particular, be included in the planning that states do for federally funded highway construction.

The easy way to get it done would have been to include the language in this years’ highway funding bill, which is a must pass piece of legislation. Eschoo tried to do that, but was rebuffed.… More

New effort to require broadband conduit in federal highways

25 November 2015 by Steve Blum
, , ,

It’s easier to dig first, pave second.

Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo is taking a third try at baking dig once requirements into federally funded transportation projects. She’s introduced a bill in the house of representatives that would require states to evaluate the need for broadband conduit as part of planning road projects…

If the evaluation reveals an anticipated need in the next 15 years for broadband conduit beneath hard surfaces to be constructed by the project, the conduit shall be installed under the hard surfaces as part of the covered highway construction project…

The Secretary shall ensure with respect to a covered highway construction project that an appropriate number of broadband conduits as determined by the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, are installed along such highway to accommodate multiple broadband providers, with consideration given to the availability of existing conduits…

The Secretary shall ensure that any requesting broadband provider has access to each broadband conduit installed pursuant to this section, on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis, for a charge not to exceed a cost-based rate.