August 10, 2020

Editor’s Note: No Industry Intelligence Aug. 24, Sept. 1, Sept. 7

Dear UTC Members,

Due to the UTC Annual Telecom and Technology conference, starting on Aug. 18, and the Labor Day holiday, Industry Intelligence will not publish the weeks of Aug. 24, Aug. 31, or Sept. 7.

We will resume publishing on Sept. 14.

UTC will keep its members informed of any relevant policy news through the Public Policy Division listserve. If you are a core UTC member and wish to be added, please let the UTC Public Policy Team know.

Thank you!

–The Industry Intelligence Team

Two Weeks Away from T&T—Are You Registered?

We are two weeks away from the first-ever virtual Telecom & Technology Annual Conference! The virtual annual conference starts on Aug. 18 and runs through Sept. 4—are you registered?

The UTC staff is hard at work putting together an incredible slate of educational content. We are also thrilled to welcome CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams as our keynote speaker! She will engage in a dialogue with UTC Board Chair Greg Angst and UTC President and CEO Sheryl Riggs on Aug. 25.

Conference delegates will be able to engage with presenters, ask questions through virtual chats, and set up private meetings. Attendees will have access to the annual conference session gallery that includes virtual training, summits, pre-recorded sessions, and tracks. Attendees can view the pre-recorded sessions at their convenience or at a scheduled time, after which the panelists in those sessions will be available for a live Q&A.

UTC thanks all of our members, technology partners, and stakeholders who make our work possible. We are also especially grateful for the sacrifices many of you are making to keep powering our lives.

We look forward to virtually seeing everyone in August during the conference and expo.

More information is available at UTC Telecom & Technology!

In related news, all of UTC’s fall regional events will be held virtually as well. UTC and our regional leaders have decided that conducting virtual regional events is the best path for everyone.  Though we’d prefer to see everyone in person, you have our commitment that each regional event will provide attendees with relevant education topics that you expect from UTC’s regional events.

We want to thank everyone who helps make UTC possible and recognize that our events do not happen without your support.

UTC Broadband Workshop Highlights NTIA Associate Administrator

A key federal official used last week’s UTC Broadband Workshop to tout the numerous broadband programs available to utilities that are providing internet connectivity services to their customers.

In a keynote address, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Associate Administrator Doug Kinkoph discussed several steps his agency has taken to improve coordination between federal agencies and remove barriers to broadband funding opportunities.

“This summer, NTIA, and our federal partners released a report detailing the progress we’ve made under the American Broadband Initiative,” he said. “This initiative, which we call ABI, was created to improve coordination between federal agencies, reduce red tape, and eliminate barriers to network buildout. Our Progress Report included updates on the 60 commitments made by Executive Branch agencies as part of the ABI. I’m proud to say that NTIA was able to deliver on 100% of our commitments.”

One of these commitments, he said, was turning NTIA’s BroadbandUSE web portal into a one-stop-shop for federal broadband information. “We now have a searchable database of federal funding opportunities, an overview on permitting, and a collection of data about state broadband coordinators, programs, and grant opportunities,” he said.”

In addition, NTIA launched an initiative to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities as these entities became key resources in promoting broadband expansion to all Americans.

This effort “seeks to increase HBCU leadership participation in relevant broadband organizations and federal agency committees, enhance outreach and participation in federal agency broadband programs, and ensure their inclusion in the broadband deployment stakeholder ecosystems and grant opportunities,” Associate Administrator Kinkoph said.

Associate Administrator Kinkoph’s remarks were featured in the widely read TR Daily publication.

More Time Needed to Vet Cable Cost-Shifting Poles Petition, Industry Says

UTC joined a group of industry associations in seeking more time to respond to a new pole-attachments petition that would tilt the playing field even more in favor of attaching entities.

In a filing last week, UTC, the Edison Electric Institute, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC, the Commission) for an additional few weeks in order to fully vet and counter a July cable-industry proposal to further lower their costs of attaching their equipment to utility-owned poles.

After the cable petition was filed on July 16, the Commission just days later issued an order requiring comments to be filed by Aug. 19, an unusually quick turnaround.

The cable petition wants the FCC to require that utility pole owners, in locations unserved by broadband, should at least pay half of the costs of replacing poles that are needed to deploy new broadband connectivity services. The cable industry also wants the agency to expedite pole-attachment complaints in unserved areas, and direct pole owners to replace poles within a specific time period (Industry Intelligence, July 27, 2020).

UTC and the industry groups said the broad range of the NCTA (cable industry) petition requires much deeper analysis than the turnaround set by the FCC. NCTA’s request could impact the safety and reliability of utility poles and therefore more time is needed to respond, the groups told the Commission.

“Given the range of issues presented, the Trade Associations make this request to ensure that there is sufficient time to conduct consultations with respective member companies and to prepare reasoned comments that meaningfully address the broad range of complex issues presented in these dockets,” the groups said. “The issues raised present a broad set of policy issues and complex factual allegations that require careful deliberation by the electric utility industry so that the Commission can make an informed decision whether and to what extent to proceed forward on the issues that are raised in the petitions.”

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

UTC Calendar of Events

Webinars

Committee/Division calls

*NOTE—Due to scheduling conflicts with the Annual Telecom & Technology Meeting, no committees will meet in August

  • Sept. 8: UtiliSite Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Sept. 8: Knowledge & Learning Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Sept. 15: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Sept. 16: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Sept. 17: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Sept. 17: Public Policy Division Call—For more information, contact Rob Thormeyer
  • Sept. 18: Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart