Comcast sues Nashville over Google Fiber-backed utility pole proposal

Google Fiber

Comcast has filed a lawsuit against Nashville challenging the Google Fiber-led One Touch Make Ready ordinance, marking the latest in a series of challenges the upstart FTTH provider is facing in building out 1 Gbps services to customers.

RELATED: AT&T sues Nashville over the Google Fiber-led 'One Touch Make Ready' ordinance

The cable MSO’s legal challenge, while not surprising, comes after AT&T filed a similar suit against the city in September.

In February, AT&T also filed a suit against the city of Louisville, Kentucky, saying that the OTMR proposal violates a number of state and federal laws.

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Similar to AT&T’s suit, Comcast argued that decisions about AT&T-owned poles are carried out by the FCC and not Nashville. Comcast said that Nashville lacks the authority to regulate the Nashville Electric Service utility poles.

It has asked the court for a permanent injunction.

Comcast maintained that its suit is not about trying to prevent Google Fiber from entering the market.

"This is not an issue of another provider being in the marketplace," Andy Macke, a Comcast official, said Tuesday, according to a report in The Tennessean. "This is really about our ability to manage our network and our ability to really manage the customer relationships and public safety."

AT&T said in its suit (PDF) that the Nashville city council is overstepping its boundaries in enacting a reformed pole attachment process, adding that only the FCC can regulate privately owned utility poles.

With the One Touch Make Ready ordinance, service providers like Google Fiber would be allowed to move existing utility lines from AT&T and other service providers. Google Fiber said that this would streamline and accelerate the fiber installation process.

Under the current law, new entrants like Google Fiber have to wait months for existing providers like AT&T and Comcast to move their lines themselves.

This is yet another blow to Google Fiber, which announced on Tuesday that not only would its current CEO Craig Barratt step down, but that it is also halting new FTTH rollouts. 

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