A Federal Judge has shot down an AT&T lawsuit against the city of Louisville, one of several company bids to slow down Google Fiber’s arrival to the region. AT&T sued the city back in February of last year after Louisville streamlined its utility pole attachment rules to speed up the arrival of competing broadband services to the city. Incumbent ISPs have long abused the absurdly bureaucratic pole attachment process to slow competitors, and Louisville’s “one touch make ready” reforms streamlined the process significantly.
In a Feb. 9 letter obtained by The Courier-Journal, however, an attorney for Time Warner Cable said the company has serious concern that such a change will negatively impact their business.
Bringing fiber all the way to your home is only one piece of the puzzle. We also partner with content providers (like YouTube, Netflix, and Akamai) to make the rest of your video’s journey shorter and faster. (This doesn’t involve any deals to prioritize their video ‘packets’ over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don’t do that.)
via Google Fiber Blog.
Tracy King, AT&T’s vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement that Google “appears to be demanding concessions never provided any other entity before.”
“Google has the right to attach to our poles, under federal law, as long as it qualifies as a telecom or cable provider, as they themselves acknowledge. We will work with Google when they become qualified, as we do with all such qualified providers,” she said.
Google qualifies as an Internet Service Provier (ISP) and not a telecom or cable provider. AT&T’s poles reside in public rights of ways.
McGinn’s major opponent, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), has committed to honoring the city’s existing contracts for a 14-neighborhood pilot project, but has shown limited enthusiasm about McGinn’s plans to expand the network in the future. So the election could determine whether Seattle residents have new options for high-speed broadband service, or will have to make do with the slower services already offered by incumbents like Comcast.
One of the biggest obstacles organizers are likely to face are laws discouraging or preventing governments from competing with private broadband providers. So far 19 states have passed such laws.
“It strikes me as crazy that some states are banning communities from building or expanding existing networks, even as we’re subsidizing private companies,” Mitchell said.
He says these laws actually end up preventing incumbent providers from expanding higher speed internet services in many areas, because they know their existing legacy services won’t face competition.
The BPU is owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, which penned the original agreement that secured the Google Fiber project — something more than 1,100 American communities actively lobbied for — for Kansas City, Kan.
That agreement had made the unusual stipulation that Google would be able to hang its wires, for free, in the upper part of the utility poles typically reserved for electrical lines. Utility companies sometimes attach their own communication cables on that part of the poles, but rarely allow third parties access to the space.