NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Google Fiber got a win Tuesday night after the Metro Council voted to approve the One Touch Make Ready ordinance after its second reading.
Council members voted 32 to 7 in favor of advancing the ordinance, which would allow Google to move telecom lines owned by companies like AT&T and Comcast without relying on those companies to do so themselves.
The company says it cannot install its fiber optic broadband services unless those other lines are moved.
One Touch Make Ready comes with an amendment, though, that will hold contractors accountable if private or public property is damaged during work on utility poles.
Google Fiber released a statement after the vote, saying they’re pleased the council supports the proposal they say is for a “21st century framework.”
“Improving the make-ready construction process is key to unlocking access to a faster Internet for Nashville, and this ordinance will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly. We look forward to continuing our work with NES and other attachers to bring our service to more homes and businesses in Nashville, faster,” said Chris Levendos, Director of National Deployment and Operations.
Tuesday night’s meeting was also one of the most crowded as supporters showed up to the Metro courthouse to support Google Fiber. Many were forced to watch from the hallway as the room filled up.
Many people News 2 spoke with don’t care who does the work on utility poles; they just want more options for high-speed internet.
The Metro Council still has to approve the bill on its third reading, expected later this month. But it certainly won’t be the end of the debate as the city’s lawyers believe AT&T will likely sue if the ordinance is approved.
The president of AT&T Tennessee said she appreciated the council members who called for a deferral of the bill and “their focus on policies that speed fiber deployment without setting aside contracts.”
“As amended, the ordinance is at odds with our collective bargaining agreement with the CWA, our joint use contract with NES and even the contract we have with Google. Those contracts relate to some of the most important parts of our business – our employees and our network. While we are disappointed with tonight’s outcome, we will continue to advocate for a non-legislative solution ahead of the final vote,” said Joelle Phillips, President AT&T Tennessee.