South-Western Legal Studies in Business

No Permission or Compensation Needed to Lay Cable Down Public Right-of-Way
Description Oklahoma high court held that a telecommunications company, given permission by the state to lay fiber optic cable, need not obtain permission or pay compensation to lay cable on land that already contains an easement for a public road.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Easement; Public Road; Compensation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts A property owner in Oklahoma brought a class-action lawsuit against CapRock Communications. The suit seeks compensation from CapRock for installing fiber optic cables in the public road easement without permission of the landowner and without paying compensation. The trial court granted CapRock summary judgment; the property owner appealed.

Affirmed. The installation of fiber optic cables by a telecommunications company within the confides of a public right of way or easement on which public roads were established did not impose any increased servitude on the land that would entitle the landowner to additional compensation. The company was authorized to lay cable within public road easements under an Oklahoma Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which qualified the company as a telephone service provider in the state. The initial taking of property when the public road was established, in 1932 in this case, provided compensation for the easement, which is still in force.

Citation Bogart v. CapRock Communications Corp., --- P.3d --- (2003 WL 1818119, Sup. Ct., Okla., 2003)

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