ArsTechnica reports that AT&T is going to court to prevent Google Fiber getting immediate access to its utility poles in Louisville, potentially delaying Google’s plans to launch its high-speed broadband service in the city.

AT&T’s lawsuit in US District Court in Louisville says the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government’s ordinance is invalid because it conflicts with and is preempted by the Federal Communications Commission’s pole attachment regulations. AT&T also argues that under Kentucky law, only the state Public Service Commission has jurisdiction to regulate pole attachments.

AT&T is planning its own fiber service in the city, but insists that the case has nothing to do with Google …

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We have filed an action to challenge the ordinance as unlawful. Google can attach to AT&T’s poles once it enters into AT&T’s standard Commercial Licensing Agreement, as it has in other cities. This lawsuit is not about Google. It’s about the Louisville Metro Council exceeding its authority.

Any competitive benefit to the company generated by the delay is purely coincidental.

The dispute centers around legislation designed to speed up the launch of new services and reduce bureaucracy by allowing third-party companies to move existing wires to make room for new ones provided that there is no disruption to service. It’s this that AT&T objects to.

Google will have no such issues in Huntsville, Alabama, where it will use the city’s own fiber network.

Photo: Samuel Broomead

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