In a bold effort, MD7 on behalf of Zayo Group sent a letter to a client of ours asking the client to reduce the rent for the fiber access lease on their rooftop to $0/mo. Their argument (a weak one) is that they are more akin to a utility and should be charged like one. Since you don’t charge the power company to come on your property, why would you charge Zayo?
The answer is a simple one- because you can. Zayo is just one a number of fiber optic groups competing for access to the wireless carrier sites on your rooftop or tower. If the carriers don’t use Zayo, they can find someone else who will readily provide fiber optic service to the site in most cases. If they want to be a “utility” and have the same rights as a utility, then they should have registered with your state utility commission and taken advantage of right of way laws when they installed their equipment.
We had to laugh when we read the letter from Md7 on behalf of Zayo where it says that they want to “work out a mutually beneficial agreement which allows (Zayo) to continue servicing your existing tenant(s) without the financial obligation of paying a fee.” And while I would like to work out an agreement with stores in my area to purchase goods from the store without “paying a fee”, there is nothing “mutually beneficial” in this type of proposal.
We see no advantage to building owners or tower owners in agreeing to this letter. If Zayo wants to stay on the property and collect rent from the wireless tenants for providing fiber optic service, then they should continue to pay rent to you. If not, they are welcome to remove their equipment.