Closed-Door Fiber Meeting Ends In No Compromise

Posted at 10:13 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 23:51:02-04

The closed-door meeting between tech giants, AT&T and Comcast, held in hopes of moving the Google Fiber roll out forward in Nashville, resulted in no compromise.

In order to implement fiber in Music City, Google wants access to utility poles to set-up fiber cables. Yet, some poles are owned by other internet providers.

A proposal from Metro Council, the so-called "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance would essentially give Google easy-access to the poles, but AT&T and Comcast don't like it.

Mayor Megan Barry set up Wednesday's meeting to try to find a compromise, but no decisions were made.

However, the fiber option is still on the table. Metro Council is expected to discuss the "One Touch" ordinance in a few weeks.

Amol Naik with Google Fiber released the following statement after the meeting:

"We sincerely thank Mayor Barry, her staff and NES for their time and attention to today’s meeting, which we came to in good faith. Improving Nashville's make-ready construction process is the key enabler for Nashville’s access to a faster Internet. We continue to support Councilman Davis’ proposal for a 21st century framework, which will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly."

Joelle Phillips, AT&T Tennessee State President released the following statement:

“AT&T is grateful for the leadership of Mayor Barry and for the time and effort devoted by members of her staff who worked with us today.
While I am frustrated that more progress was not made, there were many positives.  Comcast, AT&T, NES and members of the Mayor's administration identified and committed to several specific  proposals that would help all companies who are serious about investing and deploying broadband in Nashville.  In addition, it was helpful to walk through Google’s data which revealed that Google often overstates the time it takes for AT&T to complete certain work.
We are willing to continue talking and working together.  That's the way business in Nashville ordinarily makes progress.”

Rich Riebeling, Chief Operating Officer for Metro Nashville, released the following statement:

“We’re disappointed that a compromise could not be reached at the meeting today. While there was some positive progress to work on issues related to the speed at which fiber is rolled out in Nashville, there appears to be a philosophical disagreement between the parties about the need for and nature of legislation that would address the make ready process. Regardless of any legislation or litigation that may occur as a result of efforts to address the differences between the companies, the Mayor’s Office will continue to work with NES, Public Works, and all fiber providers to find improvements to the fiber deployment process that will ensure high-quality, high-speed internet service is available in all neighborhoods throughout Davidson County.”