FCC Statements

While it is still undetermined as to whether the FCC will actually issue rules changing the current right-of-way compensation structure, some local government officials and associations fear that the FCC could broach this subject in an NOI soon because of several oral and written statements made over the past year. Below are a few examples that have been commonly referenced:

  • “Removing red tape and expediting the approval process could unleash $11.5 billion in new broadband infrastructure investment over two years.” (FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski’s remarks on March 22, 2011 to the CTIA—an international association of wireless telecommunications industry members) It is believed that the $11.5 billion figure cited refers to funds saved from not paying state and local government fees.
  • Page 113 of FCC’s National Broadband Plan issued one year ago, states “…the FCC should develop guidelines for public rights-of-way policies that will ensure that best practices from state and local government are applied nationally.”
  • Page 113 of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan issued one year ago, states, “The [1996] Communications Act prohibits state and local policies that impede the provision of telecommunications services while allowing for rights-of-way management practices that are nondiscriminatory, competitively neutral, fair and reasonable.”
However, some groups, such as The Big Seven, believe that the FCC’s interpretation of the Act is incorrect, because the word “impede” is not actually used. Section 253(a) states, “No State or local statute or regulation, may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service.” Because they maintain that the FCC does not have jurisdiction over management and compensation, these statements as well as the FCC’s actions over the past year to expand its powers vis-à-vis regulating the internet have
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