Thursday, October 11, 2007

Expanding Pedestals

Telephone and cable companies have expanded their service offerings into a triple- or quadruple play of their core service (telephony or video) plus Internet access, wireless and the other companies' core offering. To deliver this package of service the companies often have to expand bandwidth and install additional equipment at or near consumers' homes.

These companies used to install a small pedestal for the electronics and line splice needed to provide service. The right to install such equipment derived from the rights of way granted by property owners or municipal ordinanaces that convery such rights. Of course these companies qualified for free of charge rights of way based on their "public utility" characteristics. Additionally federal, state and municipal regulations existed to safeguard the public.

Telephone and cable companies have qualified for deregulation particularly based on the determination that they provide information and other non-telecommunications services. Yet these companies continue to use "legacy" rights of ways, based on their prior regulated status. Now these companies are expanding the size and footprint of the pedestals they install on private property.

My cable company attempted to install a small refrigerator-sized device on my property. These device would use electric power surely to provide services other than the core service for which the right of way was granted.

Query: can companies providing largely unregulated information services exploit rights of way granted under the pretext of a public interest need for basic telecommunications and video services? Regardless of the actual legality of doing so telephone and cable companies have expanded the size and footprint of their rights of way use and pedestal installation without having to compensate land owners.

If companies enjoy the benefits of an information services safe harbor from regulation shouldn't they lose free rights of way access? bear in mind these are the very companies that loudly claim "confiscation" when government regulates them.

1 comment:

berto said...

To the owner of this blog, how far youve come?