Comcast and AT&T lawsuit has invalidated Nashville’s broadband competition law

Google Fiber gets a shock in its endeavor to deploy high-speed internet services to Nashville, Tennessee, after a federal judge nullified an ordinance designed to allow the new entrants to the city’s broadband internet services. The decision was taken after AT&T and Comcast convinced the district judge Victoria Roberts. Last year Nashville Metro Council has […]

Google Fiber gets a shock in its endeavor to deploy high-speed internet services to Nashville, Tennessee, after a federal judge nullified an ordinance designed to allow the new entrants to the city’s broadband internet services. The decision was taken after AT&T and Comcast convinced the district judge Victoria Roberts.

Last year Nashville Metro Council has passed an ordinance i.e. “One Touch Make Ready” rule that provides Google fiber and other ISPs instant access to varied utility poles. According to the ordinance passed by the Metro Council, a single company is able to make required wire alterations on utility poles without waiting for incumbent service providers such as the Comcast and AT&T, to send their work crews for this.

AT&T owns almost 20 percent of the utility poles in the city and the rest 80 percent are owned by the Nashville Electric Service. Although this is a victory moment for the leading internet providers Comcast and AT&T, who filed a lawsuit against the ordinance, on the other hand, it’s a bad news for the Google Fiber.

Comcast and AT&T lawsuit has invalidated Nashville’s broadband

AT&T and Comcast filed a lawsuit against the metro govt in the District Court in Nashville, demanding that local and federal laws prevent the One Touch Make Ready. Judge Victoria Roberts ruled against the Metro policy after agreeing with the Comcast and AT&T in a ruling.

Google Fiber has taken AT&T’s pole-attachment policies responsible for the slow rollout of its internet services. And in absence of the One Touch legislation, every provider has to move its own equipment on poles if a new attacher wants to use it.

Despite the obstruction, Google Fiber has been successful in building networks in Nashville in recent months. The company has recently declared service to 11 new localities and it uses shallow-trenching techniques in many areas.

The case positioned around the two sets of poles that is NES-owned poles and those owned by AT&T. The judge ruled that the Nashville ordinance has been nullified by federal law that comes to AT&T’s poles. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has authority to control pole attachment policy for privately owned poles unless the state chooses to not to participate in the regime.

While NES (Nashville Electric Service) owns around 80 percent of the city’s poles, Comcast and AT&T argued that NES has sole rights to make policies for NES-owned poles, and therefore, Metro Nashville Council has exceeded the limits of its authority.

So, agreeing with the argument from the Comcast and AT&T, the court has preempted the ordinance. Although, the court declined for any final decision on NES-owned poles.

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