Telcos go to court over municipal fiber

Telecom service providers have gone on the offensive in a broad effort to stop--or at least delay--municipalities planning to build public fiber optic networks to compete for Internet, telephone and cable dollars.

"It's a national playbook," says Patrick Ottinger, general counsel for Lafayette, La., where the city has had to buck two lawsuit filed by BellSouth and Cox Communications in its effort to build a $125 million broadband system. "The longer they delay things, the better for them."

Telecoms, meanwhile, say municipalities have an unfair advantage with access to public monies and no need to return a profit.

"You can't use your powers as a city to create an uneven playing field," said David Goodnight, who's represented Qwest in fights with numerous cities.

This one's going all 15 rounds, folks.

For more:
- See the National Law Journal story at

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