Know your rights
Building a high-speed fiber broadband network brings many benefits to a community: business and agriculture growth, educational opportunities, and increased home values. In fact, a 2018 Purdue University study found that broadband internet investment provides 400% financial return to our community’s local economy.
To build these new fiber internet lines, we need to access portions of privately owned property. To grant this access, utilities such as Tipmont forge agreements, known as easements, with the property owner. An easement grants utility companies permission to access privately owned property to build, access, and maintain transmission lines. Those lines can include electric, telecommunications, gas, water, and sewer.
As a property owner, it’s important to know your rights as it pertains to easements. The easement notice below provides some basic guidance.
Pursuant to Indiana Code Title 32, Article 30, Chapter 16, Tipmont intends to install new communications infrastructure (as defined in IC 32-30-16-2) on existing electric poles within existing electric easements held by Tipmont. Tipmont intends for the majority of communications infrastructure to be composed of fiber optic cable and ancillary materials and equipment needed to make the fiber optic network operate properly. Tipmont will provide the broadband Internet service made available through this new communications infrastructure. We are investing more than seventy million dollars to extend Tipmont’s services to you and to our community.
Pursuant to IC 32-30-16, you have certain rights when we install new communications infrastructure on existing electric poles within an existing recorded or unrecorded electric easement on your property. Those rights include:
- The right to obtain an appraisal under IC 32-30-16-11 if you believe the installation of communications infrastructure has caused the value of your property to decrease.
- The right to bring an action under IC 32-30-16-12 if you have received an appraisal and we have obtained a separate appraisal and we cannot reach an agreement regarding the appropriate decrease in value, if any, resulting from the installation of communications infrastructure on existing electric poles. Any such cause of action must be filed not later than two years from the later of July 1, 2017 or the date upon which this notice was delivered to you, the property owner. If you accept any payment for damages as a result of any acts of Tipmont under IC 32-30-16, that acceptance modifies the existing electric easement to allow for the installation, servicing, maintenance, and use of communications infrastructure within the easement, and Tipmont has a right to record that new easement.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, you are precluded from exercising the rights provided to you under IC 32-30-16-11 and 12 (including rights to get an appraisal and bring a legal action) if you sign an agreement, a master agreement, or an affidavit described in IC 32-30-16-9 whereby you agree to take communications service from Tipmont or otherwise consent to the expansion of the electric easement to include communications infrastructure.
This notice is NOT an exhaustive list of the rights you and Tipmont have under IC 32-30-16 related to the installation, maintenance, servicing, and use of new communications infrastructure within the existing electric easement held by Tipmont. We strongly encourage you to review that entire chapter of the Indiana Code, particularly to better understand the requirements for obtaining an appraisal or bringing a cause of action as summarized above.
Questions can be directed to Joe Kline, Director of Outside Plant, at Tipmont, 403 S. Main St., Linden, IN 47955, 800-726-3953.