As one of the communities Google Fiber has selected for potential provision of its gigabit fiber to the home (FTTH) services (see “Google Fiber sets FTTH sights on three new cities”), Louisville officials had passed unanimously a “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance that would enable Google Fiber and other broadband services providers in the future to access city utility poles and attach the necessary hardware to provide services themselves. AT&T owns between 25% and 40% of those poles, the Courier-Journal reports, and the ordinance potentially would allow its competitors to move AT&T’s equipment on the pole to make room for the new infrastructure.
The lawsuit asserts that the authority to regulate pole access resides only with the Kentucky Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, and therefore the city exceeded its authority in creating and passing the ordinance. Incumbent cable operator Time Warner Cable also filed objections to the provision while the city’s Metro Council considered the ordinance, but has not as of yet joined the lawsuit.
An AT&T spokesman the Courier-Journal interviewed said that the lawsuit was not intended to prevent Google Fiber or other competitors from offering service in Louisville; incoming operators could license access to the poles AT&T owns, the spokesman explained. Instead, the lawsuit was about the city overstepping its authority, he asserted.