New Proposal May Slow Down Google Fiber Rollout In Nashville

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Google Fiber is working on rolling out to more areas, both through the use of newly-developed wireless technology and through more traditional means. In both cases, conventional telecoms like Comcast and AT&T are none too happy. In most territories, Google’s offer of 1 gigabit per second internet for $70 per month beats local options handily, and adding in a TV option for a relatively cheap extra $40 is salt in the wound. Thus, it stands to reason that telecoms would fight tooth and nail to help slow down or block Fiber. In Nashville, Tennessee, one of the more immediate areas for a planned Fiber release, the Nashville Metro Council is preparing to hand down final approval for Google to start working on getting Fiber into the area, but there may be a bit of a hangup.

The current ordinance that the council favors, known as “One Touch Make Ready”, is rather drastic, calling for local elements to allow Google to simply swoop in and do what they wish with the utility poles, so long as they reasonably avoid disturbing current setups, with or without the help of current pole owners and users. This could, of course, lead to issues with future modifications and new installations, as well as introduce the possibility of magnetic interference from the wires being close together, among other potential issues. To combat this, council member Sheri Weiner partnered up with Comcast and AT&T to put forth a competing ordinance for voting, with voting set for September 20, that would slow Google’s plans down a bit in favor of creating a system that’s a bit more beneficial all around.

The new ordinance would require all companies who own or rent a pole to help in outfitting it optimally for Fiber and for future modifications. It would also call for all of the companies involved to get their work done on a given pole within 45 days of obtaining approval from the Nashville Electric Service, who would have 30 days instead of 45 to hand down said approval. In the case of Google Fiber, should AT&T and Comcast’s work present a delay beyond that goal date, Weiner insists on a penalty per pole per month. Currently, the penalty is set at $500 per pole, but Weiner wants the penalty to rise with each month work goes uncompleted. This would encourage companies to adhere to the current work target of 125 outfitted poles per week. While Google worked with the city council to draft up the “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance, AT&T has threatened to sue if it passes, making Weiner’s competing ordinance, which AT&T denies writing up, a rather appealing option. Weiner has said that if her ordinance fails or companies fail to adhere to it, she will openly support “One Touch Make Ready”.

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