Google Fiber wins faster access to utility poles over AT&T’s objections

AT&T likely to sue Nashville over rule providing quick access to utility poles.

Jon Brodkin Jon Brodkin
Google Fiber
Officials in Nashville, Tennessee have voted to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles, approving an ordinance opposed by AT&T and Comcast. AT&T has already said it would likely sue the city if it implements the new rule.
The Nashville Metro Council voted 32-7 yesterday in favor of the "One Touch Make Ready" policy on its second reading.
"The second-reading vote does not guarantee the policy will pass on its third and final reading, but the second vote is generally considered the most critical in front of Nashville Metro Council," the Nashville Business Journal wrote.
Google Fiber is available in parts of Nashville, but expansion has been slow in part because of how long it takes to get access to utility poles. When Google Fiber attaches wires to a utility pole, other ISPs must first move their own wires to make the pole ready for new wires. The Nashville Electric Service, which owns most of the poles, must also review applications and inspect AT&T's and Comcast's line work before letting Google Fiber attach to any pole. AT&T also owns some of the poles in the city.
The One Touch Make Ready ordinance would let a single company—such as Google Fiber—make all of the necessary wire adjustments itself without having to wait for incumbent providers to send construction crews. Google Fiber applauded the vote last night, saying that "Improving the make-ready construction process is key to unlocking access to a faster Internet for Nashville, and this Ordinance will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly."
But even a final vote from the Nashville Metro Council isn't likely to end the matter. AT&T sued to stop a similar ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky, and last month said the Nashville ordinance would also "result in litigation." We contacted AT&T about yesterday's vote but haven't received a response yet.
Incumbent ISPs like AT&T are also protected from competition in Tennessee by a state law that prevents municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their boundaries. The Federal Communications Commission attempted to preempt the law in order to allow more competition, but a federal appeals court blocked the FCC move.
Google Fiber wins faster access to utility poles over AT&T’s objections Reviewed by Bizpodia on 21:45 Rating: 5

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