Comcast sues Metro government over One Touch Make Ready ordinance

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Comcast of Nashville LLC has sued the Metro government, Mayor Megan Barry, and Mark Sturtevant over the passage of the One Touch Make Ready ordinance.

It allows one crew approved by a utility pole’s owner to complete all the work necessary to install new line. Under the previous system, each existing provider on the pole needed to send out a separate crew, one by one, to move its own line to make room.

Comcast says in the lawsuit they seek protection from Nashville’s “attempt to enforce an invalid and unconstitutional ordinance.”

The company says the ordinance allows third parties to touch their network without consent, authorization, or overnight, “and with far less notice than is required by federal law and by an existing contract with Metro Nashville.”

News 2 reached out to local Comcast officials who released the following statement:

From day one, we have been committed to working with local stakeholders on a collaborative solution that improves the pace of broadband deployment in Nashville. Unfortunately, the City Council has chosen to adopt an ordinance that violates existing FCC rules, creates significant safety concerns and increases the likelihood for service disruptions. We prefer a business-to-business agreement that reduces permitting times, eliminates unnecessary requirements, improves field coordination between parties and speeds up the overall rate of make-ready work. One Touch creates enormous problems for consumers that we cannot let stand, and we have no choice but to pursue legal action that protects our customers and our network.

Mayor Megan Barry said she the ordinance was litigated in the court public opinion, and the public “overwhelmingly supports this measure designed to speed up the deployment of high-speed fiber in Nashville.”

“Now, we hope that this federal litigation is quickly resolved so that we can get on with the business of expanding access to gigabit internet throughout Davidson County,” her statement concluded.

The ordinance, which allowed Google Fiber to install their highly-anticipated fiber lines at a faster pace, was passed on Sept. 20. AT&T sued the city two days later.