Needless to say, Comcast and AT&T weren’t happy about the thought of a third-party manhandling its equipment, let alone the thought of another competitor entering the market. One operative close to the entrenched players told Nashville Scene earlier this month, “Just because you spell your name with eight different colors doesn’t mean you can’t play by the rules that everybody else has to f**king play by.”
Nearly three weeks later, the situation hasn’t improved much for Google Fiber. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is still trying to get the three parties to come to an agreement, but AT&T and Comcast refuse to give in, and suggest that Google Fiber should instead adhere to existing laws and regulations. To make matters worse, the city council has pushed back a vote on the One Touch Make Ready ordinance until September 6th.
Faced with increasingly difficult odds, Chris Levendos, Google Fiber’s network deployment chief, says that the company could simply take its ball and go home. “Worst-case scenario is either elongation or it just ceases to happen,” said Levendos. “[People in Nashville] want to have companies competing for them, and this ordinance created the opportunity to propel that further for any investor that would want to build a small or large network here in Nashville.”
A Comcast spokesman, however, thinks that any talk of Google Fiber cutting and running is merely cowardice. Comcast spokesman James Weaver thinks that Google Fiber should just suck it up and following the existing rules for telecoms.
“Comcast has had serious pole attachment issues with [the Nashville Electric Service] for years,” said Weaver. “Not ONCE in all these years has Comcast said, ‘fix this or we will pick up and leave.’ This despite the fact that NES issues have cost Comcast millions and resulted in lost customers and damaged business-to-business relationships.”
Interestingly, if Google Fiber did decide to not continue its Nashville deployments, that would actually be a positive turn of events for Comcast and AT&T.