Nashville Council Adopts Law To Let Google Fiber Come To Town; AT&T Prepares To Sue

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Google Fiber is one step closer to being physically able to bring their service to Nashville, which is great news for Nashvillians. It’s less good news for Comcast and AT&T, which do not want more competition in town, and which are revving up their legal engines to fight it as much as possible.

As the Tennessean reports, the Metro Council did indeed give final approval to the measure last night, and city mayor Megan Barry is expected to sign it into law.

We wrote yesterday about the competing proposals facing the Nashville Metro Council last night. One, which already passed earlier rounds of approval, was a “one-touch” ordinance that would easily and quickly allow new competitors — in this case, Google Fiber — to string utility wires on existing poles and provide service. The other, which was just introduced last night, was an industry-written resolution that would allow the incumbents to stall installation and pay paltry fines for doing so.

The council adopted the measure on a voice vote; in an earlier round of approvals it was advanced 32-7. The incumbent-friendly proposal, meanwhile, was defeated last night by a vote of 25-14.

“Davidson County can be swiftly outfitted with fiber infrastructure no matter the carrier, with speed,” the Tennessean reports Councilman Anthony Davis, a co-sponsor of the ordinance, saying ahead of the vote. “It is great policy. It is simply common sense and it makes Nashville a premier internet and technology city.”

Google Fiber executives were likewise pleased with the vote, saying that the one-touch ordinance will “allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly.”

As you might expect from their track record over the past several months, though, Comcast and AT&T are not happy.

Comcast told the Tennessean that it they are disappointed by the vote and may evaluate if any “further proceedings” are necessary.

An AT&T executive, meanwhile, reiterated that company’s opposition, telling the Tennessean, “As we have emphasized throughout this debate, the ‘One-Touch’ policy is not a good solution for faster deployment of infrastructure.” AT&T also very politely thanked everyone who had joined them in opposing the measure.

The executive did not add, “and we will see you in court when we sue,” but the threat has been explicit for some time.

So much so, in fact, that the Tennessean reports Google is promising Nashville legal help in the coming fight ahead.

Attorneys for Alphabet (which is still a silly name for the company we all know as Google) announced on Tuesday that in the (inevitable) event of litigation, “Google Fiber will therefore be glad to share the capabilities of its in-house and outside attorneys, including some of the most experienced and accomplished regulatory attorneys in the industry.”

It’s no accident that Google made that announcement before the council voted. Litigation with a company the size of AT&T is an expensive, challenging undertaking. AT&T and Comcast are extremely experienced at getting their way, and a lawsuit over pole access regulations — as is currently happening in Louisville — can tie up operations for months.

By volunteering legal help, Google made their entry into Nashville look more attractive and less expensive… and who’s to say that the lawyers won’t have some fun getting to shout at AT&T in court?

Nashville gives final approval of Google Fiber ‘One Touch’ plan [The Tennessean]

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