back to article Judge yanks plug out of AT&T's latest attack on Google Fiber

AT&T's legal battle to stop Google rolling out broadband internet in Louisville, Kentucky, has been halted in its tracks. District Judge David Hale said on Wednesday the US telco giant must allow the installation of Google Fiber lines on the city's telephone poles. AT&T had challenged Louisville's "one touch make ready" rule …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Is that fear I smell?

    See title.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Is that fear I smell?

      Fear?

      As in Google's guys break my Service and I have to explain to customers that its not our fault?

      Or fear as in Google is now a competitor that I need to worry about?

      And then there's

      Fear? What fear? Google is going to drop it like a hot potato when they learn that they will soon be labeled a telco or will drop it when the figure out the expense vs. returns can't cut it?

      If Alphabet had to make their broadband cable a separate business... they are going to find it an expensive proposition. If they get labeled a telco... then the regulations is going to be interesting.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Is that fear I smell?

        Faster internet means more people seeing Google Ads, especially on Youtube, so even at break even price Google gets more eyeballs on Ads and more revenue.

        In the process this forces ISPs to compete in price and quality (Which America seriously needs in this area)

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @Tigra Re: Is that fear I smell?

          Not really,

          While the pages will come up faster, the time spent on a page actually watching it will be roughly the same.

          Where Google would have an advantage is they can now track every single one of your packets regardless if you have noscript turned on and don't report to google analytics. They will know exactly what you see and do, regardless of your privacy settings. Read this as Tensor Flow custom GPU for EVIL.

          You are right that competition is good in terms of keeping the prices down. However if Google takes their ad revenues to price their service below cost in order to get subscribers then you have a problem.

        2. Donn Bly
          Boffin

          re: More Google Ads

          Faster internet means more people seeing Google Ads, especially on Youtube

          Actually no, it wouldn't. If I spend an hour wasting my time on youtube, it doesn't matter whether I am on a 2 mb circuit on a 100 mb circuit, I'm going to see the same number of ads. Once you are above the bandwidth threshold to have streaming vs buffering, no additional bandwidth is going to matter.

      2. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: Is that fear I smell?

        As in Google's guys break my Service and I have to explain to customers that its not our fault?

        Cuts the other way - AT&T linesmen can handle Google's fiber when doing pole work.

        I wonder how reliable Google's Louisville service will turn out to be, or they're going to find their fibre has a lot of "defects", like getting inexplicably crimped.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @rh587 Re: Is that fear I smell?

          This is true. It rubs both ways.

          However, why would AT&T have to handle google's fiber since their fiber is already in place?

          Last one in could 'accidentally' do the most damage.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: @rh587 Is that fear I smell?

            "Last one in could 'accidentally' do the most damage."

            If one company damages another's cables, they get to be billed for making good _and_ lost business. That's why contractors have liability insurance, etc.

            Whilst the "They might damage our cables" argument is used a lot, the reality is that the new guy has a lot of incentive to treat existing plant with kid gloves.

            1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: @rh587 Is that fear I smell?

              "If one company damages another's cables"

              This has happened before. A small telco was driven out of business in the US by (Comcast?) repeatedly "accidentally" digging up their cables. It was years before the case came to court, by which time the small telco was long bankrupt.

            2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

              Re: @rh587 Is that fear I smell?

              Not to mention that, chances are, Google will be using some of the same contractors that AT&T uses anyway.

              AT&T doesn't really think Google is going to be blithely mowing down their data lines. They're just coming up with moral panics in an attempt to prevent competition.

  2. auburnman

    My guess is Google Techs will cause significant disruptions to service when handling cables, if only because the existing monopolies have done so little maintenance the existing wires practically fall to bits when handled. If I was at Google I'd have the technicians religiously documenting before and afters of every pole touched, paying particular attention to any preexisting wear and tear. Otherwise AT&T will probably tie the whole thing up in court all over again.

    1. Tom Samplonius

      "My guess is Google Techs will cause significant disruptions to service when handling cables"

      Probably not, as relocates are only a factor in a small percentage (less than 10% of installs). Every utility will have an assigned strand on the poles. Relocates are only needed if there is a conflict, at a junction point. Or a cable was located incorrectly. Relocates are exceptional work.

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      This is a job for a Glasshole!

      As it happens, auditing manual work is *exactly* what Google's glasses found a successful niche in.

      Not that they'll even touch a cable for another decade. AT&T will drag this out as long as inhumanly possible, while they reconstruct the FCC to nuke Google from orbit.

    3. Notas Badoff

      2007 Malibu Canyon Fire

      I can't find the picture I remember seeing, of a pole so loaded with telephone, cable, and power lines that it was bent over at least 30 degrees, maybe 40. Somebody was so amazed at the overloading they took a picture. Later came the pole breaking, sparking fires in Malibu Canyon. It was just so obvious, and later documented, that each different company just hung their latest new lines on the same isolated poles. (Bet you wouldn't believe four different cellphone companies too!) No one even kept records of how many. No coordination, no responsibility.

      But later, $nn millions in fines and settlements to the state. One article I found said they "set aside $900 millions for settlements with homeowners." But... that insurance would cover their (the company's) losses!

      This suit is BS, as the companies really don't give a damn, except as leverage.

  3. ITS Retired

    Google in Kansas City MO

    When Google Fiber came here, the cable companies and AT&T up graded their outside plant, increased speeds and lowered prices. Never mind they had many, many excuses as to why it was not practical before Google arrived.

    Before Google, competition and regulation... wat dat? Collusion ruled. Google's 1 gig internet at $75 a month sure beat $100+ at 50 meg or less.

    1. sweh

      Re: Google in Kansas City MO

      In my town in NJ, Verizon FIOS is costing me $95/month for gigabit internet. speedtest results on my desktop give 805/515 as "real" speeds.

      And that's with almost no competition (cablevision tops out at 400/40).

      AT&T are just trying to protect their revenue by any means they can, 'cos they know they'll lose money if they have to compete.

  4. Kev99 Bronze badge

    The heck with letting the market decide. We'll use the courts. We don't dare run the risk our C-level farts or Wall Street would possibly lose even a penny of profit.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wishing Google Fiber...

    Would make a move and start up its services in Australia. Pretty please.

  6. Jtom Bronze badge

    I'm all for competition. The more the merrier - and cheaper.

    Legally, though, I would think the answer would depend on who owns the poles. Very seldom are they owned by municipalities. They are usually owned by the phone or electric company serving the area. In some areas, service providers do inventories of shared poles versus who owns them. If one company owns more poles than the other, they either get rental compensation, or the other owner buys enough from then to even out the number. Cablecos usually just pay a blanket rental fee to the pole-owning utilities.

    If AT&T owns the poles and wanted to maximize Google's problems, they would bury their cables and drops, and force Google to either buy the poles or they would removed. Small towns, specifically, have very few contractors for placing poles or burying cables, and they serve the existing utilities. A little pressure on them by AT&T would make it hard for Google to do any of their own installation.

  7. JaitcH
    Happy

    This Reminds me of the Early Days of Interconnect in ...

    Canada when the telco's proclaimed landlines were beyond the capability of the lay public. The excuses that followed were equally humourous.

    One late (deceased) Soady-Eastern, of Bell Canada Security, and I became quite close over the years as I fitted additional handsets to my home line. Additional sets were detected by the voltage decay time of the ringer series capacitor.

    In the end I just fitted additional capacitors across the line, the tester would notify Soady-Eastern and I would get another visit! It kept him very busy.

    In actual fact, aficionados of The Blue Box (and other Boxes)(the Blue Box that financed the beginning of Apple) knew more about the telephone system than Bell as we could establish a number of calls, in series, so we could actually call a telephone sitting next to us!

    Today such people are called Hackers. I wonder where Captain Crunch is today?

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