Verizon Pushes to Overcome Make-Ready Fiber Obstacles
Verizon has secured large fiber supply agreements, but is finding their efforts to expand the wireless infrastructure and fiber for 5G deployment is being hampered by not having access to utility poles to install new fiber and small cells.
At the heart of the issue is what’s known as make-ready. Make-ready refers to attaching cables to utility poles in a way that the separation between new cables and existing cables follows National Electrical Safety Code (NESC).
Verizon is following Google Fiber’s lead and supporting the recently upheld “One Touch Make Ready” (OTMR) ruling in Louisville that would help network operators deploy fiber much more quickly by giving them faster access to utility pole and improving deployment efficiency.
“We need the ability to access poles quickly and efficiently, both to hang small cells and to string fiber that will provide the necessary backhaul,” Verizon said.
These OTMR rules let ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves rather than waiting for other providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires.
The FCC’s pole attachment rules apply to privately owned poles except when states opt out of the federal regime and come up with their own method of regulating pole attachments.
In a recent FCC filing, Verizon cited examples where local electric companies have taken nine month or more to complete the pole-attachment process with some additional delays of twelve months to get fiber on a pole. Overcoming make-ready obstacles to facilitate small cell deployments
“We’ve found that the sequential nature of make-ready work means that one party’s delay in completing its make-ready work often delays other parties’ ability to begin their make-ready work,” Verizon said. “As a result, we have found that make-ready is often not completed until well beyond the deadlines specified in the Commission’s rules.”
OTMR does have support from the American Cable Association, which represents small and medium-sized providers. Although the group has proposed a variation that would trigger a One Touch process if the utility or ISP fails to complete make-ready work in a timely manner.