AT&T Sues Nashville

As expected, AT&T last week sued Nashville soon after the city awarded final approval to a “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance that Google Fiber claimed was necessary for it to accelerate its deployment there.

The suit (PDF via DSL Reports), filed September 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Nashville Division, seeks declaratory and permanent injunctive relief to restrain the city from enforcing this new ordinance.

AT&T claims that the new rules conflict with and are is preempted by the pole attachment regulations of the FCC, and that the ordinance is invalid as a matter of Tennessee law because it conflicts with Metro Nashville’s Charter.  AT&T also held that the ordinance impairs AT&T’s existing contract with Metro Nashville, and that it would permit a third-party – Google Fiber, in this case, to temporarily seize AT&T’s property and possibly alter or relocate that property without AT&T’s consent.  

AT&T also argued that the ordinance would require the attacher to provide AT&T with 15 days prior notice of the attacher’s work. And if the attacher discovered that its work could cause a customer outage, AT&T would have 30 days to perform the necessary work, and possibly not give it enough time to avoid a service outage.

AT&T also argued that “even one instance of improper work on aerial facilities can easily cost AT&T more than $75,000.”

Per DSL Reports, Fluer Knowlsey, senior counsel of Alphabet’s Access group already expressed disappointment that AT&T had threatened to take the issue to court “in an effort to block Nashville’s efforts to increase broadband competition should the OTMR ordinance pass... In the event of OTMR litigation, Google Fiber will therefore be glad to share the capabilities of its in-house and outside attorneys, including some of the most experienced and accomplished regulatory attorneys in the industry."