Google fights AT&T, Comcast over Bay Area Google Fiber service - San Jose Mercury News: MOUNTAIN VIEW -- Google's plan to bring ultrahigh-speed Internet service to the Bay Area has run into a decidedly nontech hurdle: utility poles. To roll out Google Fiber in five Silicon Valley cities, the tech giant needs access to the poles for stringing up fiber cable. But in several cities a who's who of Google competitors are standing in the way. The outcome of the pole fight is likely to have a profound effect on which communities get Google Fiber and which don't. "The infrastructure needs to be mostly above ground," said MoffettNathanson Research analyst Craig Moffett. "You can't proceed ... if you don't have pole access." Similar battles have played out in other cities across the nation, slowing Google's multibillion-dollar program while competitors push forward with their own gigabit-speed offerings.
This illustrates the death by thousand cuts delaying strategy of the legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies to protect their service territory monopolies from interlopers offering telecommunications infrastructure far superior to their own. Those legacy dinosaurs have armies of attorneys prepped to spend years if not decades in the courts erecting legal speed bumps to slow the progress of new entrants like Google Fiber.
Some observers believe the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's promulgation of its Open Internet rules in 2015 deeming Internet service providers common carrier utilities would make pole access easier. But so did others when Congress amended the Communications Act in 1996 to allow competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) the right to use incumbent telephone central offices and cable plant to offer competing telephone and DSL services that was just emerging in the late 1990s. The incumbent telcos took a decidedly uncooperative and litigious stance to hamstring those providers as well.
These incumbent delaying tactics deepen America's telecommunications infrastructure crisis because they push a nation that's already a generation behind where it should be in terms of replacing its legacy metal cable system with fiber to the premise (FTTP) even more behind the curve. The situation calls for aggressive federal intervention in the form of a crash program to modernize and build out this vital telecom infrastructure to serve the nation's needs in the 21st century.