Google Fiber’s man reason for being in existence – other than to offer 1Gbps speeds at a low price – was to offer competition for customers. Forcing the ISP’s to up their game and offer faster speeds. Google Fiber has actually succeeded in doing so. With Comcast offering 2Gbps internet in various markets, and AT&T offering 1Gbps speeds in other markets. However, it looks like Google Fiber has perhaps hit a wall, at least a temporary one in Louisville, Kentucky which is one of the cities currently under consideration for the service.
Around 40% of the utility poles in Louisville are actually owned by AT&T. The Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance in February which essentially made it possible for competitive Internet service wanting access to the utility poles from six months down to just 30 days. However, the competitor would be libel for any damages to the poles that they are using. AT&T is filing a lawsuit stating that the city doesn’t have the rights to make that decision. An AT&T spokesperson stated that “Louisville Metro Council’s recently passed ‘One Touch Make Ready’ Ordinance is invalid, as the city has no jurisdiction under federal or state law to regulate pole attachments.” The spokesperson goes on to state that the lawsuit is not about Google, but about Louisville Metro Council exceeding its authority in the matter.
To be clear, here, this isn’t about AT&T being jealous about Google Fiber, or trying to keep Google Fiber out of Louisville. More about keeping the Louisville Metro Council in-line and keeping them from making decisions that they don’t have the power to do. This will likely get cleaned up pretty quickly – especially now that it’s out and in the media – however it will likely delay Google Fiber’s roll out.
Google Fiber hasn’t yet started building in Louisville, Kentucky, but they are planning to start soon. This is just one of many roadblocks that the company has hit since debuting Google Fiber. This lawsuit shouldn’t affect Google that much, other than just a delay in rolling out their service. There’s no word on how long the delay could take, however.