Cable companies attack bill on utility pole fees

Cable companies attack bill on utility pole fees

February 25th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee cable companies are attacking legislation sponsored by two Chattanooga-area lawmakers who are trying resolve a years-old dispute over fees charged by public power distributors such as EPB to cable operators for attaching their lines to utility poles.

The Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association says the bill, sponsored by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, will result in a "new, outrageously high fee on broadband providers across the state."

Watson said the bill is an attempt to resolve issues between the cable industry and municipal electric services, like Chattanooga's EPB, and rural electric cooperatives.

Under current law, no one can can attach lines or otherwise use the poles without the consent of utilities.

The bill, which comes before a committee on Tuesday, establishes a cost-sharing framework for pole attachment fee negotiations between utilities and attaching parties. It also creates a dispute resolution mechanism for unsuccessful negotiations between parties.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.