published Monday, February 25th, 2013

Cable companies attack bill on utility pole fees

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.
The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.
Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga 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.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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