Google Fiber is the next big thing in internet connectivity, offering fast internet speeds at affordable prices. Unfortunately, it’s currently only available in a few cities in the U.S., with limited plans to expand in the near future. Nashville, Tennessee, happens to be fortunate enough to have been chosen to receive Google Fiber but has encountered some roadblocks along the way. In order to build a fiber-optic network, Google will need access to utility poles located across the city. The problem is that these poles are owned by the two big competing local internet providers, Comcast and AT&T.
While the rival companies have not exactly been uncooperative, they have not been providing access to the utility poles in a timely manner, slowing the construction of the fiber network. Google needs access to 44,000 utility poles across Nashville. Nashville has a policy in place called "make ready", which requires existing service providers to move their existing wires before another company can add their own wires, leaving the new company at the mercy of the old one. On Tuesday, September 6, the Nashville Metro council will meet to vote on the future of these utility poles. Google's proposal is an ordinance called "one touch make ready", which would allow the new provider (in this case, Google) to move the existing wires on their own prior to adding new wires, eliminating the need for two separate companies to work together to complete the process. AT&T is not happy about this idea, however, and is prepared to file a lawsuit if Google's proposal is excepted. According to Google, of the 88,000 utility poles in Nashville that require a fiber attachment, half of them have wires that need to be relocated.
Although Google claims that of the 9,793 poles that have already been approved for make ready work, only 33 of them modified, AT&T counters by stating that "The reality is that as of yesterday, AT&T has completed Make Ready work on 459 poles for Google Fiber, and AT&T is meeting or exceeding the timetables outlined in the contract Google signed with AT&T." Comcast, the other major rival in the area, pointed out that they feel the companies should work together to address issues, rather than place all of the decision-making responsibility on a single company. The decision of whether to implement the "one touch make ready" ordinance will be determined once and for all this Tuesday, and if passed, the ordinance could serve to help Google finish their fiber construction sooner. Once completed, Google Fiber will offer Gigabit internet for $70 a month and a package that includes television service for $60 more. Considering that this is similar to the pricing competitors offer for significantly slower speeds, residents of Nashville are likely eager to see Google Fiber construction finished as quickly as possible.