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Right-of-Way Pricing & Franchise Fees


ECONorthwest helps municipalities comply with rules governing the pricing of telecommunications ROWs and franchise fees.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act) includes guidelines on the rights and responsibilities of rights-of-way (ROW) owners and those wanting access to ROWs. Our ECONorthwest team has helped municipalities across the U.S. assess ROW and franchise fees consistent with the Act’s guidelines. Our experience conducting economic analyses and presenting expert written and trial testimony on fee-related issues includes:

  • What constitutes fair/reasonable ROW fees or compensation, as referenced in the Act.
  • Commonly accepted methods of measuring/describing fair and reasonable ROW or franchise fees.
  • The extent to which fair/reasonable fees can include in-kind contributions from potential ROW users.
  • What constitutes nondiscriminatory and competitively neutral ROW fees or compensation.
  • Appropriate fee structures, including fees based on linear feet of ROW occupied, or based on a percentage of gross revenue earned on services that make use of the ROW.
  • ROW or franchise fees as possible barriers to entry into markets for telecommunication services.
  • Internal pricing of ROW access for municipal use.
  • Pricing the below- and above-ground portions of the ROW, including pole attachments.

Interested in learning more about how ECONorthwest can help you with your next project? Our toolbox is full and our staff enjoy meeting new challenges.

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