Nashville residents overwhelmingly want Google Fiber, survey finds

A Fiber technician prepares a utility pole in this video screencap. (Image source: Google Fiber)

Google Fiber may be threatening to bypass Nashville, Tennessee, if the city doesn’t revise its pole attachment rules, but doing so might cause hurt feelings among the city’s residents who want the 1 Gbps FTTH service rolled out as quickly as possible.

A poll by icitizen conducted between Aug. 18 and 24 revealed that about 94 percent of Nashville residents responding to the poll are in favor of new “one touch make ready” legislation that would, according to Fiber, speed up installation of fiber on utility poles.

Icitizen told FierceTelecom that the online poll results were weighted to U.S. Census parameters for gender and age, and included a total sample of 554 self-reported Nashville residents.

Just 5 percent of respondents to the poll were opposed to the proposed pole attachment legislation, with about 2 percent posting that they were unsure. A plurality of survey respondents, 38 percent, were in the millennial age range of 18 to 34, while a significant number, 26 percent, were aged 35 to 49.

The poll found that 92 percent of survey respondents said they plan on using Google Fiber if it is made available to them. Only 2 percent said they would not, and another 6 percent were unsure.

Fiber, part of Alphabet’s Access division, has locked horns with Nashville Electric Service and its chief competitors, Comcast and AT&T, over the proposed changes. While Google Fiber contends that the new rules would make things simpler because, once approved, it can use its own contractors to make space on utility poles for its fiber, the other two providers disagree.

AT&T, for one, feels that any delays in pole attachment are problems of Fiber’s own making. Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee, told FierceTelecom last week that Fiber sometimes submits engineering plans for pole attachments “that have errors in them that would be corrected so it’s really not so much that they would hire bad contractors but that they might give them bad instructions.”

Comcast, for another, pointed out that disagreements around pole attachments are unavoidable but that any issues can be worked out between all the parties involved.

Comcast itself is working on a new agreement with NES after the MSO submitted more than 3,000 applications for access to the utility’s poles in June alone. The Nashville Business Journal noted that under the current contract, Comcast is allowed access to just 100 poles every 30 days.

Last week in a meeting with the mayor’s office, the four parties involved were unable to hash out their differences. The new ordinance will likely be voted on by the Nashville Metro Council on Sept. 6, Watchdog reported.

For more:
- see this Watchdog article
- see this icitizen poll
- see this Nashville Business Journal article

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