Re: Who owns the telephone poles?



I looked out my window a moment ago and guess what? No poles! The city
owns the right of way in which the cable, power and telephone is buried.
Musta been really deep holes to get a 40 foot pole buried with none
stickin' out. ;-)

Seriously, it traditionally was the power company that owned the poles
if they had power lines on them. The teleco and cable companies paid a
rental fee. The rental fee is negotiated between the teleco and power
company (or pole owner). But it is set by federal legislation in the
case of cable TV. Recently, some private power companies have
transferred their 'structures' (i.e. poles) to real estate holding
companies. These (unregulated) holding companies charge each entity a
negotiated fee for rental, including the power company. This enables
them to bypass utility commission regulations governing maximum rates of
return on capital investments and also keeps teleco and cable rental fee
income on the unregulated side of the house.

As far as network neutrality goes, I have mixed opinions on this topic.
The telephone companies want the same kinds of deals the cable companies
have had for years and the power companies offering broadband services
are getting now. That is; the ability to obtain a maximum rate of return
on their investments. That includes the ability to tie their partners'
products into their service packages and exclude services that compete
with them. As congress has not seen fit to take this right away from
cable and power companies, why should the telephone companies be
encumbered?

The whole 'net neutrality' issue is better addressed by antitrust
legislation than laws or regulations aimed at a single industry. IANAL,
but I think that bundling products and imposing indefinite contract
requirements on customers should already be illegal and its just a
matter of the justice department and courts throwing a few butts in
jail. Not just in the telecommunications industry, but any businesses.

--
Paul Hovnanian mailto:Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Marching to a different kettle of fish.
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