Oh, The Incongruity

When Google Fiber launched their initiative broadband customers were all excited about the prospect of fiber to the home, breaking the AT&T and Comcast monopolies. The initial plan was to dig trenches and lay the fiber, but when that turned out to too costly, they turned to overhead distribution strategies. However, AT&T and Cable Companies had some problems with that strategy, filing lawsuits to keep the google fiber off their poles. Insight from POLITICO Morning Tech.

Catching up with Google Fiber: “Some eight years on and Google Fiber’s ambitions are just a pale echo of the disruptive potential originally proclaimed by the company,” Vice reports. “Fearing competition, incumbent ISPs like AT&T and Comcast began a concerted effort to block the company’s access to essential utility poles, even going so far as to file lawsuits against cities like Nashville that tried to expedite the process.”

Now AT&T wants to install mini-cells anywhere they want, including on someone else poles without any objection. They attempted to get SB-649 passed in California.

This proposal [SB-649] represents a major shift in telecommunications policy and law by 1) requiring local governments to lease out the public’s property; 2) cap how much cities can lease this space out for, eliminate the ability for cities to negotiate public benefits; 3) the public’s input and full discretionary review in all communities of the state except for areas in coastal zones and historic districts, for the installation of “small cell” wireless equipment.

[. . .]

This new language would extend local preemption of regulation to any “provider authorized by state law to operate in the rights of way,” which can include communications facilities installed for services such as gas, electric, and water, leaving cities and counties with limited oversight only over “small cells.”

Failing to get state cooperation in multiple states the cellphone providers have turned to the FCC for help in streamlining wireless infrastructure deployment. More insight here and here.

AT&T did not want to share their poles with Google, but now AT&T wants other providers and local government to share their poles and infrastructure for mounting 5G mini-cells. Do you see the irony in this situation?

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