Google Fiber fires back at AT&T on Nashville pole attachment ahead of city’s vote

Source: Google Fiber

With a city council vote pending on proposed “one touch make ready” legislation governing Nashville’s utility poles, Google Fiber kept things civil in a blog post on Thursday, a day after AT&T made some blistering comments about the provider’s 1 Gbps buildout progress. But it made one thing clear: The current pole attachment rules make progress ridiculously slow for broadband providers trying to roll out fiber service in the area.

“Of the 88,000 poles we need to attach Google Fiber to throughout Nashville, over 44,000 will require make ready work. But so far, only 33 poles have been made ready,” said Chris Levendos, director of national deployment and operations for Fiber, in a blog post on Thursday.

“We are all seeing the consequences of this old policy: Significant delays getting the super-fast internet you want, from the provider you want. This isn’t just about Google Fiber, but a major hindrance to future innovation for anyone looking to build a new network,” he added.

AT&T’s Joan Marsh suggested in a Wednesday blog post that Google Fiber was whinging about the difficulties, cost and delays of fiber network deployment, saying sarcastically that Fiber is learning “something we’ve known for over a hundred years – deploying communications networks is hard and takes an enormous amount of time, money and skilled labor.”

Another broadband provider in Nashville, Comcast, has obliquely suggested that Fiber is making too much of a stink about the current pole attachment process, saying that disagreements about pole attachments are unavoidable, and that it has experienced some friction in the process of negotiating its own attachment requests with Nashville Electric Services. The cable provider’s pole attachment requests in the city have skyrocketed, with 3,000 requests made in June alone; its current agreement with NES allows access to just 100 poles every 30 days.

Fiber is reportedly cutting half of its staff and has delayed the rollout of its 1 Gbps services in several California cities like San Jose. The ISP may be changing course to a less expensive rollout option, a supposition fueled by its recent acquisition of WebPass, a fixed wireless broadband provider.

The Nashville Metro Council’s vote on the new make-ready ordinance will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 6. The big question, of course, is how Google Fiber will react if the vote doesn’t go its way: The ISP has already threatened to bypass the city if the pole attachment issue isn’t resolved.

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