Two new bills – HB 1111 and SB 1222 – have been submitted to the Tennessee House and Senate that seeks to levy a “pole attachment fee” increase against cable and telecommunications providers to government-run utilities.
The current pole attachment fee for Tennessee is already 2.5 times the national average, at $17 per pole. The proposed legislation would almost double that rate to $33.
ATR has submitted a letter to Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Johnson and Tennessee House Business and Utilities Committee Chairman Rep. Pat Marsh.
The full letter can be read below.
March 1, 2013
Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee
Sen. Jack Johnson, Chair
Tennessee House Business and Utilities Committee
Rep. Pat Marsh, Chair
Dear Chairman Johnson and Chairman Marsh,
I write in strong opposition to House Bill 1111 and Senate Bill 1222, which would increase the rate paid by cable and telecommunications providers to government-run utilities. The “pole attachment fee,” paid in exchange to use utility companies’ electric poles to run cable and telecommunications lines, would increase to $33 per pole under this legislation. That is nearly five times the national average rate of $7 per pole, and would result in $20 million in additional fees being passed on directly to consumers.
Tennessee’s pole attachment fee is already 2.5 times the national average, at $17 per pole. These bills would nearly double that already exorbitant cost, raising telecommunications costs and stunting private investment. The private companies shouldering this burden are already struggling to invest in Tennessee, and to create jobs and spur development across the state. HB 1111 and SB 1222 represent massive barriers to private sector led growth.
During these difficult economic times, Tennessee families simply can’t the additional fees that will be passed on to consumers as a result of this legislation. With four years of tax increases coming out of Washington via Obamacare and other federal action, state government should give the people some relief from the burden of government, not increase its cost.
I urge you to oppose HB 1111 and SB 1222, and avoid imposing higher costs on the private sector to the benefit of a government-run monopoly.
If you have any further questions on this issue, please contact Tennessee state affairs manager Josh Culling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Americans for Tax Reform