A neophyte lawmaker is seeking the favorable support of his colleagues for the prompt and timely passage of a measure he has filed regulating the use of utility poles, related support structures and rights of way for the transmission of cable television or telecommunications signals, as well as the rates, terms and conditions for pole attachments.
Assistant Majority Leader
Romualdo said this would enable the public to enjoy a more affordable and a wider array of cable TV and telecommunications services.
"Indeed, our Constitution provides for the state policy recognizing the vital role of communication and information in nation-building," Romualdo said.
According to Romualdo, cable TV and telecommunications companies mainly employ cables and related transmission equipment to deliver their services to their respective customers, thus making attachments to utility poles and make use of a related support structures and rights of way to transmit cable TV or telecommunications signals.
"The establishment and maintenance of utility poles and related support structures and the acquisition of rights of way require significant financial investments and only a few can afford to do so. Cable TV and telecommunications companies make use of pole attachments and pay fees to pole owners for such attachments," Romualdo said.
Romualdo pointed out that this arrangement has led to pole owners charging excessive amounts for cable TV and telecommunications pole attachments. The huge cost of making and maintaining pole attachments are then passed on to consumers, he added.
Under the bill to be known as the "Pole Attachments Act," the pole attachment fee shall be equal to the sum of the additional expense and the pole premium. The pole premium shall be equal to 12% of the additional maintenance expense.
The number of utility poles for which attachment fees are payable shall be equal to the number of utility poles applied for pole attachment by the attaching entity minus the number of pole attachments validly denied by the pole owner.
Also, a pole owner shall provide and maintain non-discriminatory access to all utility poles and related support structures it owns and rights of way it controls in exchange for the payment of the pole attachment fee, on terms and conditions uniform to all attaching entities, including its own affiliates or subsidiaries.
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