The people of Louisville, Kentucky have no doubt been excited at the prospect of getting Google Fiber in their city. Last September, Google announced that they were in talks to bring their gigabit internet speeds to the city, along with two others. Unfortunately, AT&T isn’t happy about one of the agreements that the city has made, and has filed a lawsuit against them.
The nature of the lawsuit surrounds the use of the AT&T’s utility poles, for Google’s high-speed internet service. Interestingly enough, their lawsuit isn’t against Google, but the city of Louisville. They say that a recent ordinance passed to allow Google to use their poles was outside of the city’s jurisdiction.
The ordinance in question is called “One Touch Make Ready.” The ordinance states that if Google requests that the owner of the utility pole (in this case, AT&T appears to own the majority of them) to make room for their lines and they either deny the request, or don’t respond within 30 days, Google may hire a contractor to move the lines to make room. The idea here is that this method will allow for faster deployment, which the city says is good for everyone.
Before the ordinance was passed, Google would have to petition the utility pole owner to make room, and they could either not respond, or simply tell them that they would not make room. If that happened, Google would then likely have to put up new poles, just for their own lines. And that means tearing up a lot of land, and creating eyesores for the city, as two poles would then need to exist in almost every area, instead of just one.
AT&T isn’t happy about the decision, because they don’t want anyone else touching their lines. They also say that Kentucky law states that individual cities don’t have the power to regulate utility pole attachments. They say that this power falls to the stat Public Service Commission.