Judge won’t block Chattanooga’s muni-cable build

Tennessee has been a hotbed of telecom issues of late, with lots of money being spent lobbying legislators during the fight by AT&T to get its U-verse TV service Okayed for statewide deploymnent. There have also been battles brewing between cable and municipalities over the public push into private enterprise.  So far, the money hasn’t mattered much, it appears and the Tennessee Cable and Telecommunications Association has been run ragged.

It recently lost a court challenge—for the second time—seeking to block Chattanooga from a cable build by its Electric Power Board.

In Johnson City, its electric company is weighing a $16 million fiber optice network between its substations, a project the TCTA labels a boondoggle “In our opinion, if they’re willing to waste $16 million ... there’s no stopping them (from proceeding to a FTTH network),” TCTA Executive Director Stacey Briggs said.

Following TCTA’s Chattanooga loss, Comcast of the South filed a similar suit alleging the municipal build will be improperly subsidized by utility rate-payer money.

Chattanooga already has wrangled a low-interest $25.4 million loan to start the build. EPB expects to start offering residential Internet, cable and telephone service around the beginning of 2009, said Katie Espeseth, EPB’s vice president of communications services.

For more:
- See the story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
- and this Multichannel report
- and this story in the Kingsport Times News