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Telecom, Utility Panelists Address Argument Over Attachment Rates

The matter of pole attachment rates has resurfaced this year as competitive service providers call on the FCC to end pricing disparities.

Don Shepheard, vice president of federal regulatory affairs and policy for Time Warner Telecom, the company that reignited the pole attachments debate with a white paper it sent to the FCC, will lead the panel. Slated panelists include Thomas Jones, partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Jack Richards, Esq., Keller & Heckman; Charles Stockdale, vice president and general counsel of Fibertech Networks.

Richards represents utilities in FCC proceedings. They just filed an ex parte slamming us pretty good for our white paper, said Shepheard. Fibertech will come prepared to talk about how utilities practices need to be changed.

Utilities typically dont take part in COMPTEL conferences and, given that competitive providers are at odds with utilities, this should be an interesting, educational session. I can assure you it will be very lively, Shepheard said.

Panelists will update attendees on activity in the pole attachment rates argument, including papers filed with the FCC by Fibertech and USTelecom.

Fibertech wrote a best practices piece while USTelecom filed a petition saying small, rural carriers are paying more than large telcos.

Time Warner Telecom earlier this year published a white paper calling for an end to pole attachment prices charged by utilities that can run as high as $28 for telecom providers, while hovering as low as $3 for cable operators. Time Warner Telecom has said it shells out up to 272 percent more money than cable companies.

FCC www.fcc.gov
Fibertech Networks www.fibertech.com
Keller & Heckman www.khlaw.com
Time Warner Telecom www.twtelecom.net
USTelecom www.usta.org
Willkie Farr & Gallagher www.willkie.com

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