Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 4 5 For example, Next Century Cities members Lincoln, Nebraska, and Boston, Massachusetts, have created model agreements that met the needs of both the public and wireless firms. It's important to note that the terms of these successful approaches would have been banned in many states that have limited local authority over these matters, such as Florida, where local governments are limited to a remarkably low fee of $150 per location per year. By failing to charge a reasonable fee to companies wanting to use public space, such low limits are a de facto subsidization of private business by local taxpayers. Some communities are finding that the increased number of small-cell applications and permits require the hiring of additional staff, and when combined with the limits on compensation, this will likely result in further subsidization. We are disappointed that local governments have been a frequent target of these attacks despite the lack of a record with specific allegations of malpractice. Local governments have been similarly, unfairly blamed for slowing wireline investment when the much more significant impediment has been the difficulties with the private pole owner or firm with existing pole attachments. Despite the clear evidence that the make-ready process is a leading impediment to fiber network deployment, the commission is currently focusing its efforts on trying to exert top-down control over our local government decision making. Given statements from many of the commissioners and the draft rules of a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) – a committee that has been criticized for its lack of local government representation – we are concerned that the commission will take actions that harm the public by decreasing our local authority without actually resolving the key problems that are limiting increased investment in better networks. We are eager to encourage investment for better wireline and wireless connectivity. We fully understand that if our actions unnecessarily discouraged investment in our communities, our businesses and residents would be harmed and then our jobs would be imperiled. at is why, as mayors, our voices should be front and center as the commission is making decisions about local permitting and fees that impact our residents' ability to get better access to high-quality wireless as well as their tax bills. e commission should be focused on encouraging investment in better networks rather than limiting our local authority merely because the large internet companies find it inconvenient to pay their fair share in using the public rights-of-way. We look forward to playing a larger role in your discussions of these issues moving forward. v

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