Nashville Mayor Wants Google, Comcast, AT&T To Sit Down And Make Nice Over Fiber Plans

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

Incumbent cable and telecom companies push back hard when Google wants to come to town with Fiber service. But while corporations file legal challenges and yell at each other by proxy, residents are stuck in the middle without competitive service.

That’s what’s going on in Nashville right now, more or less: Google Fiber is trying to come to town, and to support building infrastructure, Nashville’s local government is considering a new regulation about utility pole access.

AT&T and Comcast both came out swinging against any new rule, with Comcast specifically saying, “We believe that the appropriate next step would be to conduct a meeting of stakeholders” before any new legislation gets made.

It seems Nashville mayor Megan Barry is calling them on that bluff.

As The Tennessean reports, following a contentious city council meeting Barry has called for all the stakeholders to convene to find a resolution.

Under existing law, the Tennessean explains, AT&T and Comcast would have to move their lines before any competitor’s lines can be added — something they are probably not terrible interested in doing. The new proposal would give anyone seeking to add lines (in this case, Google Fiber) permission to hire an approved vendor to move all the lines at once.

AT&T and Comcast do not want the policy changed; Google does. In fact, the internet giant says, the ability to bring service to Nashville as promised hinges entirely on it.

“Worst-case scenario is either elongation or it just ceases to happen,” a Google official told the city council.

If Google doesn’t get access to the utility poles it will, indeed, drastically slow down the company’s ability to come to town. As The Tennesseean reports, 90% of the city is built on top of hard limestone soil that makes it difficult to put cables underground and so utility poles are the best alternative.

Barring that, it seems Nashville could find itself on the ever-growing list of potential Google Fiber cities waiting for the invention of new wireless tech instead.

Megan Barry seeks ‘resolution’ from Google Fiber, AT&T, Comcast [The Tennessean]

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