AT&T Falsely Claimed Pro-Google Fiber Rule Is Invalid, FCC Says

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission has given a helping hand to Louisville, Kentucky, in the city’s attempt to enforce local rules that would make it easier for Google Fiber to compete against ATT. ATT sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County in February to stop a One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance designed to give Google Fiber or other new competitors faster access to utility poles. Today, the US government submitted a statement of interest (full text) on behalf of the FCC, which says that one of ATT’s primary legal arguments is incorrect. ATT — also known as BellSouth Telecommunications in Kentucky — argued that the Louisville ordinance is preempted by the FCC’s pole-attachment rules. The local ordinance “conflicts with the procedures created by the FCC, and upsets the careful balances struck by the FCC in crafting its pole attachment regulations,” ATT’s lawsuit said. But that is false, the FCC says. The FCC does have rules ensuring reasonable access to utility poles, but states are allowed to opt out of the federal pole-attachment rules if they certify to the commission that they regulate the rates, terms, and conditions of pole attachments. Kentucky is one of 20 states that has opted out of the federal regime and imposed its own rules, the FCC noted. Accordingly, the federal pole-attachment regulations enacted under Section 224 [of the Communications Act] simply do not apply here,” the FCC wrote. More generally, One Touch Make Ready rules are consistent with federal communications policies and regulations that seek expanded broadband deployment, the FCC also wrote.

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