from the if-you-can't-compete,-litigate dept
As such, Google Fiber has been pushing cities to pass new "one touch make ready" utility pole attachment reform rules, which let a single licensed and insured technician move any ISP's gear (often a matter of inches), reducing pole attachment from a 9 month process, to one that takes as little as a month. Needless to say, ISPs like AT&T feel threatened by anything that could speed up competition in these stagnant markets, so it has been suing cities like Louisville and Nashville for trying to do so.
Comcast has decided to join the fun, and has now filed its own lawsuit against the city of Nashville (pdf), claiming that these reform efforts "upset the existing, carefully designed make-ready process" allowing "encroaching attachers" to move Comcast gear with "only" fifteen days previous notice. This, Comcast claims, will result in "significant, irreparable injury" to the cable giant:
"...Comcast will suffer significant, irreparable injury to its property, operations, and customer relationships. By departing from the carefully balanced approach to the make-ready process embraced by Comcast’s contract with Metro Nashville and the comprehensive Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulatory framework, Metro Nashville’s Ordinance exposes Comcast’s network equipment to serious risk. It permits third parties to encroach upon, move, and potentially damage Comcast’s equipment, thereby imposing significant costs on Comcast and threatening interference with customers’ services and emergency communications—while offering Comcast no way to protect against these harms or even seek recourse after the fact.Well, no. These aren't just errant idiots running around ripping and replacing expensive telecom gear like meth-addicted copper thieves. These are licensed and insured contractors doing the work; in many instances likely the same exact technicians Comcast uses for its own pole work. Comcast previously has tried to claim that network outages would jump 50% or more if this reform passes, but there's really no evidence to support this claim.
AT&T, meanwhile, has tried to accuse Google Fiber of government favoritism for pursuing these reforms, ignoring not only that the plan has the overwhelming support of the public, but the fact that AT&T has enjoyed decades as a government-pampered monopolist that quite literally gets to write protectionist state telecom law (when it isn't busy bone-grafting itself to the country's ever-expanding domestic surveillance apparatus).
Of course these incumbent ISPs can't just come out and say they oppose utility pole reform because they're terrified of competition, so instead we get entirely-unnecessary lawsuits that not only waste taxpayer dollars, but delay long overdue broadband infrastructure improvements.