News - March 24, 2020

INCOMPAS: Promote Broadband Deployment, Reject Local Barriers to Competition

Trade group files comments at FCC in support of Uniti/Bluebird Petition: Warns Against Duplicative Rights-of-Way Fees in Missouri

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2020) – INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, filed comments at the FCC on Monday in support of a Uniti and Bluebird Network petition to prevent three towns in Missouri from assessing duplicative fees for right-of-way use agreements.

The INCOMPAS filing highlights the need for local communities and new network builders to work together on smart, streamlined and transparent broadband deployment critical to the 5G future. Warning against unreasonable fees and discriminatory policies that hold back fiber investment and deployment, INCOMPAS argued that Section 253 of the Communications Act is an effective last resort for carriers faced with patently unreasonable municipal rights-of-way fee structures.

To read a copy of the INCOMPAS filing, click here.

In addition to the filing, Angie Kronenberg, INCOMPAS Chief Advocate and General Counsel, released the following statement:

“Competition drives the deployment of new networks, and brings communities faster speeds, better service and lower prices. Cities and towns must partner with new builders to help families access the benefits of the 5G future.

“We urge the FCC to expedite Uniti’s request, and strongly encourage all policy makers—federal, state and local—to stand against duplicative or hidden fees and efforts to depress the growth in streaming, cloud and over-the-top services that drive new investment and create jobs.”

More Background: Bluebird sold its fiber optic network to Uniti, which then leased that same network back to Bluebird.  Despite making it clear throughout their negotiations with the cities that Uniti would not access, operate, or maintain the network, four cities in Missouri demanded payments from both Bluebird, as the network operator, and Uniti, as the network owner for access to the public rights-of-way even though there was no increase in the Cities rights-of-way costs as a result of the transaction.  The parties have since settled with one of the cities.

INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, is the leading trade group advocating for competition policy across all networks. INCOMPAS represents Internet, streaming, communications and technology companies large and small, advocating for laws and policies that promote competition, innovation and economic development. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter: @INCOMPAS @ChipPickering