One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) policies are recognized as a way to cut down on the expense and the time it takes to deploy fiber optic networks. At least three sizable urban communities have adopted OTMR practices to streamline fiber optic construction and ensure consistent standards. For other communities looking at ways to encourage brisk fiber optic investment, it pays to study the language of OTMR resolutions and policies.
OTMR allows a pre-approved contractor to move cables belonging to more than one entity on one visit to the pole to make room for the new fiber optic cable. This is a departure from the old method, in which each entity takes turns visiting the pole in question to move only their wires. The old approach is time consuming because each entity must take turns in the order in which their wires are installed on the poles. If one entity causes a delay, every other entity that needs to work after them must also wait. What follows is a snowball effect and an entire project can fall far behind schedule.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio’s municipal utility, CPS Energy, adopted a broad set of pole attachment standards that include specific requirements for OTMR, including what needs to happen before, during, and after the process.
The standards lay out administrative procedures, technical provisions, and specific provisions for both wired and wireless attachments. It incorporates recommendations from the FCC on how best to expand broadband while also weaving in safety standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the introduction, CPS Energy writes:
From a holistic perspective, the Standards seek to balance the competing needs and interests of multiple communications providers to access and utilize CPS Energy Poles, while at the same time recognizing that the core purpose and function of these Poles is for CPS Energy’s safe and reliable distribution and delivery of electric services to CPS Energy customers. Hence, any use of CPS Energy’s Poles must at all times ensure the continued operational integrity, safety and reliability of CPS Energy’s Facilities, electric services, personnel and the general public.
You can view the entire 128-page document, which includes appendices, here.
Nashville has faced challenges from both AT&T and Comcast in response to its adopted OTMR ordinance. The policy was introduced there when incumbents dragged their feet during pole preparation, which significantly slowed Google Fiber’s planned Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) deployment. Nashville Electric Service (NES) is the dominant pole owner in the community.
In order to open up the community for new service provider entrants without causing delays, Ordinance No. BL2016-343 places time restrictions on notifications required throughout the process. The ordinance also establishes reasonable time limitations on completion of the work and creates indemnification if those timelines are ignored, within the confines of existing law.
Check out Nashville’s BL2016-343, which includes amendments and legislative history.
AT&T filed a similar suit last year when Louisville adopted OTMR. AT&T’s legal theory rested on the argument that the poles were under federal jurisdiction, but the FCC submitted a statement of interest informing the court that federal pole attachment regulations did not apply in Kentucky. The state had opted out of federal pole attachment rules years earlier.
As in Nashville, Google Fiber had encouraged the OTMR, but other potential providers will benefit. Christopher spoke with the city’s Chief Innovation Officer Ted Smith in March 2016 for episode 193 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.
Louisville’s Ordinance No. 21 Series 2016 is available here.