Louisville council looks to lure Google Fiber with streamlined pole-attachment system

The Louisville City Council is looking to streamline the installation of fiber-based Internet networks by giving utility-pole owners the right to use a single contractor to install new equipment, while moving the existing equipment of other companies. 

The proposal would make Louisville attractive to ISPs like Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG), but is irking incumbent service providers AT&T (NYSE: T) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC). 

Councilman Bill Hollander (D-9th District), who is sponsoring the ordinance, said in a Louisville Courier-Journal article that it takes too long to install networks under the current process of enabling every company to use their own contractors to conduct pole work.

Google Fiber has complained about that time it takes to have the various utilities and rival Internet and TV service providers move their equipment on poles when they build into a new region.

"We are trying to do everything we can to position the city to be a leader in broadband," Hollander said.

The proposed ordinance is being opposed by AT&T and Time Warner Cable, the city's respective incumbent telco and cable operators. These companies -- which would have more competition, should Google Fiber come to town -- question whether the City Council has the authority to issue such an ordinance.

"The ordinance is simply unworkable," said Gardner Gillespie, an attorney representing Time Warner Cable. "It does not provide any meaningful way for TWC to know what changes have been made to its existing facilities or to assure any damage is promptly cured."

In a separate letter, AT&T Kentucky President Hood Harris also said the measure infringes their agreement and "would likely disrupt the service our customers receive." The vast majority of utility poles in the city are owned by either AT&T or Louisville Gas & Electric.

"For those reasons, we believe the Metro Council should table the ordinance until an agreement can be reached that is in the best interest of both customers and broadband providers," Harris said.

For more:
- read this Louisville Courier-Journal story

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