By working with city governments, Google Fiber has been steadily breaking down administrative barriers to prompt deployment of the company’s high-speed broadband service. To date, other service providers also have benefited from Google’s activities. But it’s a different story in Nashville, where pole attachment legislation spearheaded by Google has encountered opposition from AT&T and Comcast.
Nashville’s Metro Council this week voted to preliminarily approve One Touch Make Ready legislation that would change the city’s utility pole attachment rules, reports local media outlet The Tennessean. The rules would allow a single contractor to move all lines attached to the pole – including lines from multiple communications service providers. Google’s goal is to speed the process of getting the pole ready for the company to attach its own fiber optic cabling.
AT&T and Comcast would prefer to see shorter timelines for existing service providers to move lines and higher penalties for non-compliance, The Tennessean reports. Google’s competitors expressed concern that a third party hired to move existing wiring could damage their lines and disrupt service. According to the news report, AT&T also has argued that the ordinance would violate contracts with union workers.
Pole Attachment Legislation
The Nashville pole attachment legislation requires another council vote, scheduled for September 20, The Tennessean reports. If the council votes in support of the legislation at that time, the legislation would then go to Nashville’s mayor for signature.
Google has said that the pole attachment legislation is critical to its broadband rollout, The Tennessean report states. Meanwhile, a local official told The Tennessean that he expects to see AT&T take legal action against the pole attachment ordinance.
The Nashville pole attachment legislation is the latest example of Google’s ongoing efforts to reduce red tape. As communities compete with each other to attract Google or another operator to deploy high-speed broadband, Google and others have been able to persuade more and more communities to change policies. Google has a checklist of broadband-friendly policies that it asks communities to adopt before the company will commit to broadband deployments.
In the past, AT&T has benefited from Google’s efforts to streamline broadband deployment. In Austin, Texas, for example, Google persuaded officials to adopt broadband-friendly policies that helped pave the way for AT&T to upgrade its existing broadband service in the community.