AT&T Sues To Block Google Fiber In Kentucky

Earlier this month, lawmakers in Louisville, Kentucky unanimously passed an ordinance aimed at making it easier for Google to bring its Gigabit fiber network to the city.

The measure enables potential broadband providers like Google to install new equipment on utility poles owned by other companies. Time Warner Cable and AT&T strongly opposed the measure. AT&T Kentucky, which owns many of the poles, said in a letter to Louisville lawmakers that the bill was likely to disrupt service, according to the Courier-Journalnewspaper.

On Thursday, AT&T sued in federal court in Louisville to prevent the law from going into effect. The company argues that the law conflicts with Federal Communications Commission regulations regarding utility poles.

"In addition," AT&T says in its complaint, "Louisville Metro had no authority to adopt the ordinance, because Kentucky law gives the Kentucky Public Service Commission exclusive jurisdiction to regulate pole attachments."

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer responded today via Twitter that the city will "vigorously defend the lawsuit."

He added: "Gigabit fiber is too important to our city's future @googlefiber."

Google hasn't yet promised to bring its fiber network to Louisville. Instead, the company says it's says "working with city leaders to explore the possibility" of building a network in the city.

But city residents clearly expect Google to build a network.

The same day the city passed the utility-pole ordinance Fischer said the measure "puts Louisville one step closer toward becoming a Google Fiber city,” according to the Courier-Journal. The paper also reported that residents carrying signs that said "Fiber Friendly" cheered on the bill at City Hall.

For its part, AT&T also has said it intends to bring Gigabit service to Louisville. If successful, this lawsuit would give AT&T the opportunity to establish a fiber network before Google can do the same.

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