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General Laws

Section 25A. The following terms as used in this section shall have the following meanings:

“Utility”, means any person, firm, corporation or municipal lighting plant that owns or controls or shares ownership or control of poles, ducts, conduits or rights of way used or useful, in whole or in part, for supporting or enclosing wires or cables for the transmission of intelligence by telegraph, telephone or television or for the transmission of electricity for light, heat or power.

“Attachment”, means any wire or cable for transmission of intelligence by telegraph, wireless communication, telephone or television, including cable television, or for the transmission of electricity for light, heat, or power and any related device, apparatus, appliance or equipment installed upon any pole or in any telegraph or telephone duct or conduit owned or controlled, in whole or in part, by one or more utilities.

“Licensee”, means any person, firm or corporation other than a utility, which is authorized to construct lines or cables upon, along, under and across the public ways. For the purposes of this section, the term shall also include a municipal lighting plant or cooperative that operates a telecommunications system outside the limits of its service territory pursuant to section 47E of chapter 164, but only for those attachments that are outside its service territory.

“Usable Space”, means the total space which would be available for attachments, without regard to attachments previously made, (i) upon a pole above the lowest permissible point of attachment of a wire or cable upon such pole which will result in compliance with any applicable law, regulation or electrical safety code or (ii) within any telegraph or telephone duct or conduit.

“Wireless provider”, any person, firm or corporation other than a utility, which provides telecommunications service.

A utility shall provide a wireless provider with nondiscriminatory access to any pole or right-of-way used or useful, in whole or in part, owned or controlled by it for the purpose of installing a wireless attachment. Notwithstanding this obligation, a utility may deny a wireless provider access to its poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way, on a nondiscriminatory basis only for reasons of inadequate capacity, safety, reliability and generally applicable engineering standards; but upon denial of access for reasons of inadequate capacity, the utility shall, at the expense of the wireless provider, expand the capacity of its poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way to allow access by the wireless provider where such capacity may be reasonably expanded by rearrangement or replacement. This paragraph shall not apply to municipal lighting plants.

The department of telecommunications and energy shall have authority to regulate the rates, terms and conditions applicable to attachments, and in so doing shall be authorized to consider and shall consider the interest of subscribers of cable television services and wireless telecommunications services as well as the interest of consumers of utility services; and upon its own motion or upon petition of any utility or licensee said department shall determine and enforce reasonable rates, terms and conditions of use of poles or of communication ducts or conduits of a utility for attachments of a licensee in any case in which the utility and licensee fail to agree.

No attachments shall be made without the consent of the utility to the poles, towers, piers, abutments, conduits, manholes, and other fixtures necessary to sustain, protect, or operate the wires or cables of any lines used principally for the supply of electricity in bulk.

Said department, pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall determine a just and reasonable rate for the use of poles and communication ducts and conduits of a utility for attachments of a licensee by assuring the utility recovery of not less than the additional costs of making provision for attachments nor more than the proportional capital and operating expenses of the utility attributable to that portion of the pole, duct, or conduit occupied by the attachment. Such portion shall be computed by determining the percentage of the total usable space on a pole or the total capacity of the duct or conduit that is occupied by the attachment.

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