Comcast sues Nashville over utility pole ordinance

Markets Associated Press

Comcast is suing Nashville over an ordinance that changed the area's policy regarding utility poles.

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Local news organizations report the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, argues that the Metro Council lacks the authority to regulate Nashville Electric Service poles.

An ordinance passed on Sept. 20 allows Google technicians to make room for Google's lines on utility poles by moving other telecoms' lines. Before the Google Fiber-supported One Touch Make Ready ordinance was passed, existing providers were required to move their own lines to make room for a new one.

Comcast joins AT&T as the second major internet company to file a lawsuit over the ordinance.

Comcast's lawsuit argues that AT&T-owned poles fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, not the local government. Comcast also argues that the ordinance violates Comcast's contracts with NES and AT&T, and that the law will increase the risk of interruption and outages in Comcast's services.

Google Fiber had lobbied for the ordinance, arguing that the previous system prevented new competitors from entering the market.

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Mayor Megan Barry, who was named in both lawsuits, said the public supports the new law.

"One Touch Make Ready has been litigated in the court of public opinion, and the public overwhelmingly supports this measure designed to speed up the deployment of high-speed fiber in Nashville," Barry said.