NES strikes deal with Google Fiber, dismisses lawsuit

Utility poles(Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Nashville Electric Service says it has struck a deal with Google Fiber, prompting NES to dismiss a lawsuit it had filed in October against Metro and telecommunications companies that sought clarity over NES’ liability with the city’s new One Touch Make Ready policy.

“Today, Google Fiber assured NES it will pay any potential damages that result from NES by the ordinance in relation to the deployment of Google Fiber,” NES President and CEO Decosta Jenkins said in a statement issued Friday. “This is a win for NES, Google Fiber, Nashville and residents who are looking forward to having access to Google Fiber.”

NES, which owns 80 percent of utility poles in Nashville, had said One Touch Make Ready, which involves utility pole attachments for new providers, forces it to choose between complying with the new law or its existing contracts with AT&T, Comcast and other internet providers.

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In NES’ suit filed in Davidson County Chancery Court in October, NES had sought a declaratory judgment over NES‘ rights and obligations.

After the Metro Council last fall adopted the new policy, at-large Councilman Bob Mendes had pushed legislation that would have shifted legal fees away from Metro government to internet providers during legal disputes that arise from the application of the new One Touch Make Ready policy. But the council voted to defeat that proposal.

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NES’ decision does not pertain to pending lawsuits from AT&T and Comcast against Metro over One Touch Make Ready. Those are being heard by U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp, who announced last week he is leaving the bench effective April 15 to return to private practice.

The companies’ federal lawsuits, among other arguments, have alleged the Federal Communications Commission, not Metro, has authority to regulate utility poles.

The One Touch Make Ready ordinance, which was proposed to speed up Google Fiber’s slow rollout into Nashville, involes for new providers.

When a new line is added to a pole, each existing line under Metro‘s old policy had to be moved by its owner, a process that can take months per line.

Passage of One Touch Make Ready allowed one approved contractor to move all the lines at once, which Google Fiber has said would reduce traffic and sidewalk disruption. Supporters also argued that the new ordinance would bring new competition to an internet industry dominated by only a few providers in Nashville.

Reach Joey Garrison at and on Twitter . 

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  • Google Fiber Considering Expansion To 34 New Cities
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