Electric cooperatives own and maintain poles to deliver safe and reliable electricity to their consumer-members. Recognizing that electric cooperatives were built by and belong to the communities they serve, Congress exempted electric cooperatives from federal pole attachment provisions and maintained that exemption in the 1996 reauthorization of the Telecommunications Act.

Electric cooperatives charge cost-based rates for their services, including pole attachments, to maintain 50(c)(12) cooperative tax-exempt status. If a federal uniform rate pushed attachment rates lower than actual costs, consumer-members of the not-for profit electric co-op would subsidize cable, broadband and telecommunications corporations, many of which are for-profit entities.

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