City to pay AT&T nearly $14 per pole used
By Mark Wineka
The city of Salisbury will pay AT&T, one of its competitors in the communications business, $13.84 for every AT&T-owned pole on which Salisbury has to string its fiber-optic cable.
As Atlantic Engineering, which is building the city’s fiber-optic network, got deeper into its design, the company determined it would be better in some cases to use AT&T poles than Duke Energy poles, Salisbury’s Broadband Director Mike Crowell said.
Previously, Salisbury reached a pole attachment agreement with Duke Energy in which Salisbury will pay Duke $5.34 per pole per year. Crowell said most of the city’s above-ground cable will be strung from Duke poles.
“We just wanted the option if it’s a better choice,” he said of the AT&T poles.
Crowell said the Federal Communications Commission sets the price for attachments depending on the classification of poles. In this case, AT&T is considered a communications provider, while Duke Energy was considered a data provider.
That’s the main reason for the discrepancy in per-pole costs, Crowell said.
Salisbury City Council approved the pole agreement with AT&T Tuesday.
Salisbury is in the process of establishing a fiber-optic cable utility to provide telephone, television and Internet services. The rollout of the $30 million network is expected sometime next year.