Gigabites: A Love Letter to Nashville

MARI SILBEY

It’s Gigabites, the Labor Day Weekend edition. In this week’s report, Google Fiber and AT&T battle it out in Nashville; the FCC backs down from the municipal broadband fight; Comcast challenges Verizon in a ranking of broadband speeds; and more.

Who loves Nashville the most? Google Fiber Inc. says it has the city’s best interests at heart in requesting a new One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ruling from the city government. The OTMR ordinance would make it easier for Google Fiber, and anyone else, to attach new broadband lines to local utility poles. In ablog post dedicated “To Nashville, with love,” the company appeals directly to the city’s residents asking them to support the ruling at a vote on September 6. Google Fiber says a positive vote would speed up the process of bringing Google Fiber to the Music City. So far, the company points out that only 33 utility poles have been made ready for Google Fiber attachments out of the more than 44,000 in the city that need work done in preparation for new fiber lines.

The One Touch Make Ready ordinance sounds like a no-brainer, but AT&T Inc.(NYSE: T) and others have argued repeatedly in Nashville and elsewhere that changing the laws for utility pole attachments could lead to network disruptions and outages. Further, AT&T accused Google Fiber in its own blog post this week of seeking favoritism from local governments while incumbent operators have been forced to play by existing rules. AT&T highlighted in the post the amount of money it’s spent on network investments nationally — $140 billion between 2011 and 2015 — and suggested more or less that Google Fiber stop whining and get to work. (See also Gigabites: Google Gigs Out in Nashville and Gigabites: Google Fiber Fights for Pole Position.)

Google Fiber, AT&T and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) didreportedly try to come to an agreement over the OTMR ordinance in August. However, after a day of negotiations, there was no compromise in sight. Rich Riebeling, Nashville’s COO, said: “While there was some positive progress to work on issues related to the speed at which fiber is rolled out in Nashville, there appears to be a philosophical disagreement between the parties about the need for and nature of legislation that would address the make ready process.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry’s first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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