News - December 23, 2020

INCOMPAS: North Pole Attachments Help Santa Map his way to Apartment Buildings that want Better Broadband and More Competition for Christmas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 23, 2020) – This week, INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, filed letters with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), discussing its members’ broadband deployment strategies and their need for access to poles, multi-tenant environments and accurate maps.  

And, because ‘tis the season, Angie Kronenberg, INCOMPAS chief advocate and general counsel, added the following comment just for good measure:

“Competition is all we want for Christmas. (North) pole attachments and better data help Santa map his way over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s apartment, where we hope the FCC will have finally made her internet choices faster, more affordable and available from multiple providers.” 

In two Pole Attachment ex parte letters (here and here), INCOMPAS and its member companies commended the FCC for its role in implementing “one touch make ready” and speeding deployment for competitors. However, barriers still persist, and additional action and clarity are necessary to speed deployment of new networks. INCOMPAS’ members encounter pole owners who demand that they pay for poles to be replaced in order to attach their infrastructure, and FCC clarification on the allocation of costs for such pole replacements to be fairly shared would speed deployment by avoiding disputes and promoting competitive broadband.   

INCOMPAS also filed an ex parte regarding the implementation of the Broadband DATA Act calling on the FCC to follow explicit language from Congress that data and mapping information come from providers who have actually built out their networks in an area. The Commission’s Order on circulation will require companies leasing facilities of other providers to file duplicative information that will overstate competitive network availability. INCOMPAS emphasized that consumers and state and local policymakers seek accurate data about the availability of alternative networks, and the FCC’s efforts is contrary to the Broadband DATA Act requirements and will continue to misrepresent network infrastructure that’s available.  

Finally, INCOMPAS praised several recent filings by its members encouraging the FCC to prohibit exclusivity agreements that make it difficult for competitive providers to offer cost effective and innovative broadband to consumers in multiple tenant environments.  In their filings, Starry, which offers fixed wireless internet service, and Sonic, a gigabit fiber Internet provider, explain that incumbents have engaged in exclusive commercial agreements that create economic and contractual barriers to competitive entry.  Like INCOMPAS, these providers are asking the Commission to issue a Report and Order that would level the playing field for competition by prohibiting service providers’ participation in these unreasonable and anticompetitive practices.