AT&T Claims Google Fiber Error to Blame for Pole Attach Delays


by Karl Bode
Friday Aug 26 2016 08:30 EDT

AT&T and Comcast have been trying to slow Google Fiber's arrival in markets like Louisville and Nashville by fighting the company's attempt to enact utility pole attachment reform. Google Fiber has been pushing "one touch make ready" rules that would dramatically speed up pole attachment by letting a single, licensed and insured contractor move (often a matter of inches) any gear necessary to complete installs. But because this would speed up competition, incumbent ISPs have been fighting the proposal tooth and nail using a rotating crop of complaints.

AT&T has tried to argue it can't speed up pole attachment because it just respects union workers too much. Comcast has tried to argue that letting third-party contractors touch their gear (which most ISPs already do) will result in a 50% failture rate. Time Warner Cable has gone so far as to try and claim pole attachment reform would violate its Constitutional rights.

Remember, Google Fiber and other competitors have complained for years that incumbent ISPs use pole attachment simply as a way to hamstring competing build efforts.

But this week AT&T trotted out a new excuse for opposing Google Fiber's attempts at utility pole reform: Google Fiber's supposed incompetence.

Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee, tells Fierce Telecom the company isn't worried about Google using inexperienced pole installers as much as it is Google Fiber, a "relatively new service provider," giving the installers the wrong information leading to outages or other problems.

“Let’s assume they hire the very best contractors, if they give those engineering plans that we get in our application to that contractor I know that’s work that’s going to be done all over again,” Phillips said. “I am seeing many of those that have errors in them that would be corrected so it’s really not so much that they would hire bad contractors but that they might give them bad instructions.”

Phillips doesn't really provide much hard evidence for the claim, or much credit to Google Fiber after five years of construction. I've contacted Google Fiber for comment but have yet to hear back as of this posting. Meanwhile, reports out of Tennessee indicate that Google Fiber and Comcast were unable to come to an agreement on pole attachment reform despite a full day of discussions with regional lawmakers.
Those TN lawmakers should be fired.  Why can't they figure it out?  Anything Comcast wants, they shouldn't get.  The lawmakers are giving TN a bad name.
Comcast sucks.  The world would be a much better place without Comcast.
Follow the money.  You'll find that Comcast and AT&T give a ton through lobbying and campaigns.  That's why they always get what they want.  And the average consumer has no idea that any of this is going on.