There's a renewed push in California to underground utilities. The way it works is the incumbent companies are required to tax their users, to fund "Rule 20A" undergrounding projects. The money supports the project costs, including a "joint trench" in which each company is assigned a set of pipes. Unlike with PG&E poles and AT&T copper, there's no rule saying the incumbents have to allow access. So we have a tax on the public going to pay the cost of locking out all future competition from using public roads. Really? Yes really.
Sonic as an upstart was built on the rule that the incumbent carriers had to lease wires (for DSL) and space on poles (for Fiber). The lease rates give a profit to the owners of the wires and poles. But there's no such rule for underground projects.
I'm collecting a mailing list of folks interested in this issue. I hope to raise the profile of this issue, and eventually (long term) push for changes to the CPUC rules. Just ask to be invited, and say a bit about why you care:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum ... -utilities