Google recently announced that it is planning to bring high-speed internet service to Nashville and Louisville. This will be a great competition to the current companies in town. AT&T, Charter, and Comcast have already mentioned that they would try to halt competition from Google Fiber in the areas.
In Louisville, Charter complained that the city authorities are giving different standards with fewer rules for Google Fiber, despite the fact that both the companies are providing similar services. According to Charter’s government liaison, Jason Keller, “There is no justification for different regulatory treatment.”
Charter representatives also said that they have to pay the city authorities beyond millions in tax to provide internet and cable TV to city owned buildings, and to provide government channels and studio for stations with public access. “Consumers win when they have a fair choice of service providers. That’s why Louisville Metro and the area’s suburban cities should make sure all like service providers are treated the same,” said Charter representative, Mike Pedelty.
Charter is not the only company to claim that the city authorities treats broadband providers differently. AT&T had also filed a lawsuit in February against the city’s new pole access regulations. According to the “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance passed by the Metro Council, high-speed broadband providers like Google Fiber can install their equipment in AT&T utility poles.
In view of that, an AT&T spokesperson said, “AT&T pursued this course of action because the Metro Council has no jurisdiction to regulate pole attachments. Because of this, the ordinance is invalid.” However, Mayor Greg Fischer said that, “We will vigorously defend the lawsuit filed today by AT&T. Gigabit fiber is too important to our city’s future.”
Google Fiber commented in a blog post that it is “disappointed that AT&T has gone to court in an effort to block Louisville’s efforts to increase broadband and video competition. We are confident the city’s common-sense initiative will be upheld. The ordinance will allow work [to] be done by a team of contractors the pole owner itself has approved, instead of having multiple crews from multiple companies working on the same pole over weeks or months.”
In Nashville, Google Fiber is open for business, but Comcast is raising objections along with AT&T. Nashville is also planning to pass pole access regulations similar to Louisville and AT&T has raised concerns about that. AT&T representative said, “We have serious concerns with other companies being allowed to perform work on our facilities.”
Comcast representative commented, “We believe that the appropriate next step would be to conduct a meeting of stakeholders. This should be accomplished prior to any proposed legislation.”