We’re Number One: TN Soon Could Have Highest Pole-Attachment Rates
According to the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association (TCTA), the Tennessee Senate Commerce Committee is flying in the face of a court-upheld FCC pole-attachment ruling by considering legislation the group says would nearly double private broadband providers’ payments to the state’s government-owned utilities and electric coops to attach fiber lines to their utility poles. This, in turn, would increase Tennesseans’ monthly triple-play bills along with hindering future broadband buildouts. The fee-increase bill will be heard in committee March 5, and approval would ratchet Tennessee’s current $17 average per-pole rental to $33 – more than twice the fee of any other state, TCTA adds. In contrast, the FCC’s formula for privately owned, non-government utilities is about $7 per pole. In response, TCTA is advocating for the state’s Freedom to Connect Act of 2013 that would establish rate guidelines based on actual costs while setting up an independent, third-party review for situations when utilities and private companies disagree.
Gambling On The Incentive Auctions
In anticipation of the kind of money station owners think they could reap from upcoming incentive auctions at the FCC, a spate of recent deals brings spectrum-related TV-station sales to nearly $345 million. SNL Kagan Research says the most prolific buyers were NRJ TV LLC ($234.2 million spent) and OTA Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Michael Dell‘s MSD Capital ($52.8 million spent). These “aggregators” literally are banking on the wireless industry’s need for speed, hoping they’ll collect the big bucks when they turn in their spectrum at auction time. This is a case of pure speculation if you look at Kagan figures that say while averages for wireless spectrum comps still dwarf those paid for the TV spectrum at benchmarks typically higher than $1/MHz/pop, no one really knows how much wireless carriers will pay for more capacity – and what aggregators really will get once the FCC takes its pound of flesh.