At long last, the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Implementation of Section 224 of the Communications Act (pole attachments) was published in the Federal Register this morning, starting the clock for comments and replies. Initial comments are due on Monday August 16, and replies are due on Monday September 13.The FNPRM, originally adopted at the FCC’s May 20 open meeting, proposes a host of new rules governing the rates, terms and conditions of pole access to encourage broadband deployment and competition consistent with recommendations made in the National Broadband Plan. In particular, the Commission proposes to (1) lower the telecommunications pole rent formula to establish more uniform rates applicable to “all” attachers; (2) adopt additional pole access rules that could make pole contract negotiations more difficult and increase penalties for unauthorized attachments; and (3) improve the enforcement process at the FCC. For further information, read our earlier blog post and our DWT Advisory on the issue.For additional information, please contact Chris Fedeli or Jim Tomlinson.UPDATE: At the May 20 open meeting, the Commission actually adopted both an FNPRM and an Order regarding pole attachments. As discussed in more detail in our DWT Advisory, the brief Order made two distinct findings. First, the Commission clarified that Section 224 allows communications providers to use space- and cost-saving attachment techniques where practical and consistent with a pole owner's use of those techniques. Second, the Commission affirmatively held that the right to just and reasonable access to poles under Section 224 includes the right of timely access.This morning's Federal Register indicates that only the FNPRM has been published (e.g., the publication is listed as Proposed Rules and not Final Rules, and only the text of the FNPRM has been published). However, the ordering clauses at the end of the publication state that the "Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking...is adopted." Nevertheless, we understand that the Order will be separately published in the Federal Register shortly.