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Google Fiber In Austin Hits a Snag: Incumbent AT&T

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the no-fiber-for-timothy dept.

AT&T 291

AcidPenguin9873 writes "Earlier this year, Google announced that it would build its next fiber network in Austin, TX. Construction is slated to start in 2014, but there's a hitch: AT&T owns 20% of the utility poles in Austin. The City of Austin is considering a rules change that would allow Google to pay AT&T to use its utility poles, but AT&T isn't happy about it. The debate appears to hinge on a technicality that specifies what types of companies can attach to the utility poles that AT&T owns. From the news story: 'Google 'would be happy to pay for access (to utility poles) at reasonable rates, just as we did in our initial buildout in Kansas City,' she said, referring to Google Fiber's pilot project in Kansas City...Tracy King, AT&T's vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement that Google "appears to be demanding concessions never provided any other entity before. ... Google has the right to attach to our poles, under federal law, as long as it qualifies as a telecom or cable provider, as they themselves acknowledge. We will work with Google when they become qualified, as we do with all such qualified providers," she said.'"

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291 comments

Google will have their way (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#45661579)

A torches and pitchforks parade at the AT&T offices and the homes of local executives might be required however.

Re:Google will have their way (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 8 months ago | (#45661619)

AT&T is pretty well used to this by now...

Re:Google will have their way (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#45661625)

There is a reason AT&T offices are built to withstand a prolonged seige.

Re:Google will have their way (5, Insightful)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 8 months ago | (#45661837)

torches and pitchforks parade at the AT&T offices

Isn't this almost exacty what Eminent Domain laws are designed for. If some private company's blocking use of resources important to public or civic use (those cable right-of-ways) the government pretty much gets to take them and pay whatever it says they're worth. Or do they only use those laws to kick out poor people for huge corporate developers?

Re:Google will have their way (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 8 months ago | (#45661923)

This would fall under easement laws, not eminent domain.

Re:Google will have their way (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 8 months ago | (#45662111)

I was hoping the government would take the poles in their entirety, rather than trying to get them to share.

Re:Google will have their way (2)

toastar (573882) | about 8 months ago | (#45662119)

Easement laws in the US are a form of eminent domain.

Re:Google will have their way (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#45662195)

Do people not even read the summary any more? What AT&T wants is for their competitor, google, to be regulated as a utility, as AT&T is, before using the utility poles. It's not that unreasonable. If the outcome is that the regulations are out of date and eased for both AT&T and google, that's fine too.

Re:Google will have their way (2)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#45662291)

Is AT&Ts internet access regulated as a utility, too? If not, I could see that coming back to bite them (and see myself basking in the glow of warm schadenfreude).

Re:Google will have their way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662295)

Isn't this almost exacty what Eminent Domain laws are designed for.

Eminent Domain only applies to municipalities or corporations taking land away from individuals. It can't be used against Corporate America.

ISPs: stupid, monopolisitic (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#45661609)

There's not a lot to say in favor of [local telecom] just about anywhere in the U.S. Their margins are higher than any other substantial industry, and yet they're constantly in fear of even microscopic changes, pushing absurd protectionism through every level of government.

heh, friend, you haven't looked around lately (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#45661845)

every yahoo (pun intended) with a tin desk, a telephone, and a tie can set up a little telecom company with just a few thousand dollars for the lawyers to draw up the papers. many have. the reason is that they get wholesale rates from every other telecom company on colocation, facilities, duct access, dark fiber, provisioned carriers, and everything including access to the bathroom. it's infinitely cheaper than bending the ears (or passing "campaign contributions" wink wink) to scores of local politicians who are studiously looking over their shoulders. and it gouges the incumbent carriers greatly.

Re:heh, friend, you haven't looked around lately (1)

headhot (137860) | about 8 months ago | (#45662061)

The problem isnt forming the telecom, its confirming to the regulations once you are a telecom.

Re:heh, friend, you haven't looked around lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662351)

actually forming a clec can be quite expensive. much more then a few thousand dollars.

Re:ISPs: stupid, monopolisitic (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 8 months ago | (#45661997)

Decades of absurd protectionism is how they achieved those margins. It's their only viable business model at this point. They are terrified of becoming a provider of a commodity product, a dumb pipe for bits that anyone can compete with. There's no easy way for a business to justify readjusting to lower (realistic) profits after raking in unreasonable amounts of money for so long. It'll look like a huge loss to their investors, and not what it really is; a return to sane market equilibrium and healthy competition. Investors will consider the leadership to have failed massively, and they'll be held accountable. So the leaders are doing what they can to stop it. It's a perverse system.

A monopoly wants as little competition as possible (4, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 8 months ago | (#45661611)

No surprise from ATT, I doubt anyone expected anything from them except obstructionism. Cheers to the City Council for taking action that is obviously in their constituents best interest.

Re:A monopoly wants as little competition as possi (-1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#45662175)

why can't google just build their own poles in the area?

oh wait, they want to keep the cash for themselves and claim the moral high ground

Re:A monopoly wants as little competition as possi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662245)

I always thought it was more about Google telling AT&T, "Live by the sword, die by the sword."

Re:A monopoly wants as little competition as possi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662259)

It would be stupid to add more poles.

Google wants to be unregulated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662271)

why can't google just build their own poles in the area?

oh wait, they want to keep the cash for themselves and claim the moral high ground

All AT&T is saying is that Google has to declare their operations a "telecom or cable provider" and thus place themselves under federal/local regulations statutiry controls.

No wonder Google wants to have their cake and eat it too.

Re:A monopoly wants as little competition as possi (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#45662389)

Well if you read the article, you'd see that the city does not want more poles especially when they are existing poles.

Good luck w/ AT&T monopoly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661615)

Good luck w/ AT&T monopoly.

Last Acts of Defiance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661623)

AT&T seems to think that the world is still leaning in their favor regarding local "monopolies" for cable & broadband. Once they piss off the new competition they themselves will find out that they can be locked out of areas, or from accessing the new fiber backbone being provided by Google. Also, if AT&T's customers find their access to Google sites & apps are inexplicably suffering from slow connections, well, life's a bitch.

let's see how the free market preachers with Rs af (0)

thelonegunman (3460783) | about 8 months ago | (#45661635)

handle this conundrum for their home state corporate patron AT&T

Re:let's see how the free market preachers with Rs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661859)

Which free market preachers and what conundrum? I'm guessing it has something to do with people praising the government for stepping in and telling AT&T "if google is willing to pay, you must let them use your poles", but your post is severely lacking in details.

Free market? Gov't gave AT&T the ROW to begin (5, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#45661901)

The city government gave AT&T the exclusive right of way to put up poles all over everyone's property in the first place.
Under existing federal law, that ROW came under the condition that other "telecommunications providers" can lease space on the poles. The city is really just insisting that AT&T comply with the spirit of the original deal.

So we have an exclusive right granted by government, both federal and city, and now the government (still) attaches strings to that government grant. This doesn't really have anything to do with the free market at all.

Re:Free market? Gov't gave AT&T the ROW to beg (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45662187)

..the spirit of the original deal.

...and thousands of lawyers burst into laughter...

Just to get this straight (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#45661637)

So, just to get this straight, a company who gained its position through a helluva lot of taxpayer dollars, much of it in the form of last mile access on public lands, now decides it has some ethical and moral right to block a competitor.

I say that every single time one of the old telco descendants does this, they are sent a bill with interest for every nickel directly or indirectly they received from the public purse, payable immediately.

Re:Just to get this straight (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | about 8 months ago | (#45662113)

Absolutely correct.

Re:Just to get this straight (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 8 months ago | (#45662127)

No, AT&T is not claiming some ethical and moral right to block a competitor. They are claiming a legal right to do so. They do not spell it out, but it seems to me that they are, also, claiming a legal obligation to do so (although that impression may be a misreading of the reporters interpretation of their statement).

Re:Just to get this straight (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 8 months ago | (#45662183)

So, just to get this straight, a company who gained its position through a helluva lot of taxpayer dollars, much of it in the form of last mile access on public lands, now decides it has some ethical and moral right to block a competitor.

Actually no. They have no ethical or moral rights and never has. They are a business, not a person, and federal law be damned. What they do have, however, is a legal right, purchased through years of lobbying efforts to our legislators, who are now thoroughly corrupted -- 97% of our candidates for federal positions who won had more money than their opponent. Democracy at work.

The only reason that Google might bust them up on this is because everyone loves Google, it's new and hip, while AT&T sounds like some 60s throwback dinosaur that can safely and quietly be shoveled out the door or sacrificed on the altar of public opinion. And Google knows this!

Funny ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45661641)

Funny how AT&T gets an easement to use public (and sometimes private) lands for this, and then over time it becomes 'their' property to be used at their discretion.

In other words, the incumbent who got there by using public resources is now acting like they're private resources.

Such horse shit, and just more of governments allowing corporations to own what it essentially infrastructure paid for and used by all of us.

Re:Funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661745)

Maybe they own the physical poles. I don't know who owns them around here, but if I look out the window I can see only the phone and cable company's cables hanging from it.

I also know from experience that when the power goes out, only the cable company comes out to check the pole.

Re:Funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661911)

So just install cylindrical poles over top of AT&T's (with holes cut out for the existing cables). Be careful not to touch the original (now completely concealed) pole.

Re:Funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662065)

That was a great bullshit answer. You should work for AT&T.

They Might Be Giants (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#45661767)

Time to send in the Phone Cops to bust some heads! Starting with Dr. Johhny Fever.

Re:They Might Be Giants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661979)

Just watch out for exploding toolboxes.

Why is Google not a telecom? (5, Interesting)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 8 months ago | (#45661643)

If they are, can't they use the poles under FCC reg? If not, why are they not considered a cable company or telco? Is it because they don't want to follow some regulation that would be required if they have that status?

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (0)

kroby (1391819) | about 8 months ago | (#45661695)

I wish I had mod points to give this. I want to see it answered.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (4, Informative)

Formorian (1111751) | about 8 months ago | (#45661769)

I believe it's narrowly defined as telephone service and VOIP doesn't count. According to AT&T spokeperson, Google even agree's they don't fit the requirement as a telecom.

So like I posted below, update the regulation to include any form of communication, or if you want to keep it narrow add ISP's. I don't think even if the fed's don't change it, that AT&T has a leg to stand on. The city owns the right of ways and can change what's allowed within their borders IMO. But IANAL.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45661887)

I believe it's narrowly defined as telephone service and VOIP doesn't count. According to AT&T spokeperson, Google even agree's they don't fit the requirement as a telecom.

So like I posted below, update the regulation to include any form of communication, or if you want to keep it narrow add ISP's. I don't think even if the fed's don't change it, that AT&T has a leg to stand on. The city owns the right of ways and can change what's allowed within their borders IMO. But IANAL.

So can Google form a telecom subsidiary that provides voice service that also leases fiber bandwidth back to Google for use in delivering Gigabit Ethernet?

I'm sure they can find a small CLEC that would run the voice service for them.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661831)

If they are, can't they use the poles under FCC reg? If not, why are they not considered a cable company or telco? Is it because they don't want to follow some regulation that would be required if they have that status?

They are NOT and the answer to your second question is a YES so big, caps^10 doesn't do it justice. As a Telecommunications company, the FCC would come down on them real hard to conform to the standards that all the other players (ATT included, of course) have to. Google doesn't want that, for many obvious reasons, so they continue to parade around with the "We are just a search web site that wants to give away tons of shit for free/cost! come support us!" banner hoping that they can get into the profitable end of many different businesses (like telecoms) and not have to get into the unprofitable end (conforming to the regulations that make our current batch of telecoms work together, and reliably).

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (5, Informative)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 8 months ago | (#45661851)

Because they would fall under FCC Telecomunications Act of 1996, section 702. Which would obliterate their existing business.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662193)

I'll google that for everyone else:

Sec. 702. Privacy of customer information.

Re: Why is Google not a telecom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661871)

Google doesn't want to pay the associated taxes with being a registered traditional telco. It also doesn't want its infrastrucure to be subject to regulations like AT&T's is. Old Devil vs New Devil.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#45662027)

Google doesn't need to be a phone company under federal law to provide gigabit fiber to Austin, TX. This is a local matter, and it appears the local government is handling it just fine.

Re:Why is Google not a telecom? (4, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 8 months ago | (#45662075)

If they are, can't they use the poles under FCC reg? If not, why are they not considered a cable company or telco? Is it because they don't want to follow some regulation that would be required if they have that status?

Pretty much, yes. Good description in the link below. Essentially, Google is an information service provider, regulated under Title 1 of the Telecom Act of 1996. If it were willing to be regulated under Title 2, as a telecom service provider, then it would qualify for pole attachment access guarantees. I fully agree that the language in the 1996 Telecom Act regarding pole access should be broadened to cover Google, but it seems that AT&T has a pretty decent case that it doesn't cover Google, as written. http://www.kandutsch.com/articles/access-to-utility-poles-for-ftth-providers [kandutsch.com]

AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661653)

I thought they owned cell phone towers, not utility poles. i thought cities or the power company owns utility poles. When a utility pole breaks, the police or fire department usually calls the power company, correct? In any event, \I learned something new.

Re:AT&T? (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#45661749)

The power company (owned by the city) owns 80% of the poles. AT&T owns the remaining 20%, presumably because they needed poles in some locations where there was no power pole.

Re:AT&T? (2)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 8 months ago | (#45662149)

How about Google provides the cash to the city, the city buys up the AT&T poles (via eminent domain).

Re:AT&T? (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 8 months ago | (#45662319)

How about Google provides the cash to the city, the city
buys up the AT&T poles (via eminent domain).

Bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, don't you think?

Thanks for the clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661655)

"just as we did in our initial buildout in Kansas City,' she said, referring to Google Fiber's pilot project in Kansas City..."

I thought she was referring to catching mackerel in aid of Lower Skyscrapers for Acrophobics.

Free Market Lies (4, Insightful)

Daemonik (171801) | about 8 months ago | (#45661663)

This is why free market utopianism is such a crock. Business do not want to compete with each other and will use every ounce of their power & every legal trick they can create to prevent an upstart from disrupting their markets.

Ironically the only way to have a free market is if the government forces them to.

Re:Free Market Lies (3, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | about 8 months ago | (#45661681)

You assume a government free of control by outside forces.....

Re:Free Market Lies (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45661757)

You assume a government free of control by outside forces.....

Like lobbyists, political contributors, and industry reps being appointed to run regulatory bodies.

In other words, can't happen.

Re:Free Market Lies (2)

bradrum (1639141) | about 8 months ago | (#45662087)

This is huge in Texas. Just notice the dry laws in North Texas. There are areas in the North Texas that have a huge number of liquor stores that make insane profits. These areas are owned by those with great political power so that they can make the revenue off the booze sales from nearby areas where cannot by booze.

When people say in Texas say "free market", they usually mean that there is regulation that benefits their access to markets while limiting the access of others. So its essentially "free for me". A good example of this was when my friend and me tried to setup an ISP in central texas, much to our chagrin, we realized that only certain corporation$ or people are free to do that.

I know this happens in a ton of other places (say for instance in New York, where I live now). It is just funny that in Texas there is such a conflict between what politicians say about "free markets" and how the markets actually stack up.

Re:Free Market Lies (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45662369)

And to me it's evidence of why it will never work.

Because it assumes perfect conditions that won't happen, rational decisions by consumers, and no corruption/collusion, and an environment where others can come to the game.

In reality, over time, it becomes about protecting the interests of those with access to power and becomes something else entirely.

And the oft-touted solution of removing regulations (or hiring someone from industry to be in charge of them) doesn't ever seem to do anything but make matters worse.

All tyrants and despots like to believe that if they could only force everybody to live as they believe we should, then all would be perfect. And this is no different with the people who would dismantle market regulations to protect consumers (or the environment) -- they act like if they only threw the world into chaos everything would sort itself out.

In that regards, I don't see some of the Tea Party as being any different from Pol Pot in their complete disregard for the casualties which would be necessary to bring about their perfect system (which in the end would be nowhere near as perfect as they think).

The notion that to make an omelette you need to crack some eggs has been repeated by people who would destroy society under the guise of making it better. The funny thing is, those people are never willing to be the eggs. It's tyranny wrapped up in the belief that people need to be forced to see the truth as you see it, and that history would then vindicate you.

Re:Free Market Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661827)

The city of Austin has rules that protect ATT. How is this the fault of the free market? This is corporatism not capitalism.

Re:Free Market Lies (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661915)

"This is why free market utopianism is such a crock."

I call BS. This is a perfect example of how government intervention disrupts free markets. It is not that AT&T owns the telephone poles in question. It is the government regulation that AT&T is using to block a competitor from also being allowed to use those poles. AT&T knows it provides terrible service (I used to live in Austin) and does not want the government to dictate to it that it must share a resource paid for by the public under government dictate (those little fees on your phone bill and the rates of your phone bill were deternined by government regulations to provide for the cost of erecting telephone poles). This problem simply would not exist unless for regulated markets, and AT&T is still so reliant on regulation to keep its business model working that it might as well be called "Government Telephone and Telegraph." This is precisely and exactly an example of where government regulation completely distorts the free market.

Re:Free Market Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662181)

Correct, without a regulated market the US would have been unable to win WW2, Austin would have already been degraded to a Somali llike status and have precisely zero telcoms.

Re:Free Market Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661947)

In a totally free market, there are no "legal" tricks ... no?

Re:Free Market Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661971)

This is why free market utopianism is such a crock. Business do not want to compete with each other and will use every ounce of their power & every legal trick they can create to prevent an upstart from disrupting their markets.

Ironically the only way to have a free market is if the government forces them to.

This works the other way, too. Google wants to skirt 20 years of interpretation of current telecommunications laws, so that they can cherry pick what they do, where they do it, and how much they pay. Nothing (not even a law) says that Google can't compete, but it does say they have to do so by the same rules as everyone else. Sure, the laws probably need to be changed since we are in a brave new world where search websites seem to want to get their fingers in everyfuckingthing they can imagine, just so that they have more avenues to push ads at us, but as they stand, AT&T is just playing by the rules.

Re:Free Market Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662001)

Actually I believe they are using rules that were put in place by the government (city in this issue). Re-enforces the fact that when you have govt messing around with free-market, it starts becoming less of a free market. There is probably a balance there somewhere...

Re:Free Market Lies (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 8 months ago | (#45662081)

The entire point of the article is that there is no free market here. So you have drawn the wrong conclusion.

The problem is that AT&T has been granted local monopoly power over utility poles while monopoly power as the local telecom company. If they were a for-profit company who built and maintained utility poles, they would have incentive to get as many wires onto those telephone poles as they could safely fit. This is why many states are deregulating power by separating the local power company, who maintains the power lines, from the power providers who put power onto those lines.

Re:Free Market Lies (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#45662091)

I don't think there are very many people who believe in a free market "utopia". It's just that many people rightly point out that free markets tend to be more efficient than governments. This is great when efficiency takes priority over all else - like, say, the cost of a roll of scotch tape. For things like utilities, most people agree that there are other factors besides raw price that are important: wires strung all over the place is ugly and complicated, and yet restricting to a single right-of-way tends toward monopoly over the lines. The difficult bit is managing the tradeoff between government corruption and inefficiency versus free market weirdness like supply and demand instability and exclusion of non-economic considerations.

There is not and there never will be a "right" answer or a correct balance - every possible solution has pros and cons. Like any dynamic system, caution should be taken when making adjustments. Just as violently shifting an aircraft's controls will lead to instability, suddenly changing the rules of commerce can lead to things like rolling blackouts in CA.

Back on topic, tweaking the utility pole rules to allow Google to hang fiber on them seems like a reasonable path forward.

Re:Free Market Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662159)

> free market utopianism is such a crock

No. The problem here is the government-granted monopoly that AT&T had for decades. If we had real competition, we would have Internet access instead of the joke we have now. Where I live in Seattle, I can't get cable TV, cable Internet, or even a reliable POTS line. My DSL is less than 1Mbps down, and the city won't allow CenturyLink dig-up the street to replace the faulty twisted pairs to the neighborhood. The city government here is preventing me from getting TV, phone, or fast Internet service. That's what happens when you have too much government. Several companies have tried to offer service in my neighborhood, but the city so far has successfully fought all of them. Gigabit Seattle looks like it might be allowed to service a few blocks, but they're being blocked in the vast majority of the city.

"Free Market" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662167)

How the hell does a regulated monopoly represent a "free market"?

Re:"Free Market" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662305)

Well, it's something he doesn't like. Therefore it is the fault of the free market, despite the fact that there was no free market to be at fault to begin with.

Doesn't providing internet (1)

ai4px (1244212) | about 8 months ago | (#45661683)

Isn't providing telecom services like internet a prima facie indication of being a telecom provider? Oh, I see they haven't gotten official recognition as a telecom. Never mind.

Technicality? (2)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 8 months ago | (#45661685)

The "technicality" is that Google wants to act as a telecom / cable company without being listed/regulated as such.

How predictable...... (4, Interesting)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 8 months ago | (#45661699)

It's reasons like this that Google decided to blaze this trail in the first place. Stunts like this pulled by incumbents are often enough to kill smaller startups and projects, whereas it will likely only be a hindrance for Google.

Bury those cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661701)

One thing that catches my eye in the US is that even large cities have wires strung on utility poles. Are excavators too expensive in the States?

Re:Bury those cables (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#45661765)

It's substantially more expensive to dig trenches to bury cable than to use existing utility poles. That would be true anywhere in the world that has utility poles.

Re:Bury those cables (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662083)

Even Poland

Update federal guidelines (2)

Formorian (1111751) | about 8 months ago | (#45661713)

It seems to me AT&T's complaint is that Google isn't a telecom or cable provider as defined by federal law. Well back when it was probably defined, dedicated internet companies probably didn't exist or were in their infancy.

All the city is doing is saying yes you have to lease your polls to a ISP also. I don't see the problem.

AT&T is just trying to block competition, which I understand being greedy and they want their monopoly like every other cable co, but they are going to loose.

I wish Fed's would just add ISP's to that list. But if you read the article, the city is right. They don't want a ton of poles in 1 spot just because some douche company won't lease to another company and also construction. The poles are there, let em lease em.

Re:Update federal guidelines (4, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#45661783)

Google Fibre is not an Internet-only service. It also includes television service, making it analogous to cable providers.

Re:Update federal guidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661825)

" I don't see the problem."
You can't just let anyone put up wires anywhere they want. There are rules to go by. If Google wants to play, let them play by the rules, or change them.

Re:Update federal guidelines (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 8 months ago | (#45662213)

The potential issue is that Google does not want to fall under the regulations which they would need to comply with if they were considered a "telecom or cable provider" under federal law. The problem is that that area of law is so encumbered with privileges and regulations for companies so designated that I do not know if it is a good idea to allow Google to skirt the issue. On the other hand, if the contracts and laws are so written that the City of Austin can force AT&T to allow Google to connect under the same kind of conditions as a "telecom and cable provider" (as defined by federal law) without making Google adhere to those regulations that seems like a good solution. Of course AT&T will fight it and the wording of some existing law, regulation, or contract may make it so that the City of Austin cannot legally do so.

Must Invest in Infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661725)

Every company that wants to operate for profit in the United States of America must invest 10% of it Gross income (before expenses) into the infrastructure of the United States of America.

Get your own ditch digger and bury those cables yourself.

Re:Must Invest in Infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661815)

Every Anonymous Coward who wants to impose blanket laws based on feel-good numbers like 10% must earn a law degree paid for out-of-pocket and spend a minimum of 10 years running a business that turns a profit and employs more than 100 citizens.

Couldn't Google Just Register (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 8 months ago | (#45661773)

Can't Google just register as a Telecom or Cable company? Why isn't that the obvious solution? Why should they be allowed to leverage their massive presence as an outsider to the Telecom/Cable industry to force their way into that market.

Re:Couldn't Google Just Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661935)

Can't Google just register as a Telecom or Cable company? Why isn't that the obvious solution? Why should they be allowed to leverage their massive presence as an outsider to the Telecom/Cable industry to force their way into that market.

Yes, Google could register, but the it would be bound to all the same rules and regulations that existing Telcos and Cablecos are bound, which it doesn't want to get into the morass of multiple layer governmental requirements. The feds have a set, the states have a set, most cites have a set and more frequently counties are starting to follow suit.

Long and short of it, Google does not want to have to abide by millions and millions of obscure and antiquated rules and regulations that ATT has to abide by

Re:Couldn't Google Just Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662327)

Long and short of it, Google does not want to have to abide by [ANY] rules and regulations

FTFY. Lets be honest.

Re:Couldn't Google Just Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662003)

Sure, they probably could. But then they'd have to wade through the same regulatory bullshit that all the other telecom companies have to wade through, which if nothing else slows everything down. There's not a company in the world that wouldn't avoid that if they can.

Funny AT&T Sunsetting POTS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661809)

So AT&T wants to sunset POTS, but still claim to be a telco? lol

ATT scared shitless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661847)

Google is competing with AT%T with a superior product. AT%T wants to sell UVerse and does not have the infrastructure to compete against Google's gigabit to the home. So AT%T is scared shitless and trying to prevent the loss of (possibly) most of their customers to Google anyway they can, making it as difficult for their competitor as possible.

It is not "free market" though, I expect that AT&T has a franchise with Austin that forces them to allow competitive use of their telephones placed in utility easements. They reaped the reward of the franchise, now they need to perform the terms of the franchise and share the poles, despite the fact that is will be their undoing. I say "good riddance" to that...

pole waving? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661863)

So AT&T is waving their poles around in Google's face?

Don't use public waterways to build your moat. (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 8 months ago | (#45661883)

I am guessing they received a public easement to put up the poles.  Imminent domain could just as easily force them to be returned at cost.  If the had paid landowners for the rights, it would at least be more difficult.
I hope AT&T's moated fortress becomes their Alcatraz.

Proves the case for city owned fiber... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661889)

I own an apartment complex with 132 units. We own the fiber/CATV cable/ethernet cables from the complex telcom room out to each unit.

FIOS, RCN, Comcast and DISH are all present in the telcom room. Tenants can order up service from any of those vendors. We also offer an internet only option. If a new vendor wants to offer service to our complex, they have to get to the telcom room, but from their its easy to compete. If Google came along, they could offer service from our telcom room to the entire complex.

This works really well, and I think the concept should work on a city-wide level as well.
City owned fiber, commercial providers on an even footing.
Lower costs, better service.

Simple Solution (2)

headhot (137860) | about 8 months ago | (#45661945)

The town should instruct AT&T to remove their poles from the town owned easements, or let google pay for pole access. Problem solved.

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662223)

Or 'at&t you can no longer put up any more poles and have fun google with the new ones you want to put up'

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662387)

Utility easements are irrevocable.

Tails 0.22 released @ Dec 11, 2013 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45661957)

Tails 0.22 released @ Dec 11, 2013
============
CHANGELOG

tails (0.22) unstable; urgency=medium

    [Tails developers]
    * Security fixes
        - Upgrade to Iceweasel 24.2.0esr that fixes a few serious security issues.
        - Stop migrating persistence configuration and access rights. Instead,
            disable all persistence configuration files if the mountpoint has wrong
            access rights (Closes: #6413).
        - Upgrade to NSS 3.15.3 that fixes a few serious security issues affecting
            the browser, such as CVE-2013-1741, CVE-2013-5605 and CVE-2013-5606.

    * Major improvements
        - Switch to Iceweasel 24 (Closes: #6370).
            Â Resync' (most) Iceweasel prefs with TBB 3.0-beta-1 and get rid
                of many obsolete or default settings.
            Â Disable WebRTC (Closes: #6468).
            Â Import TorBrowser profile at commit
                51bf06502c46ee6c1f587459e8370aef11a3422d from the tor-browser-24.2.0esr-1
                branch at https://git.torproject.org/tor-browser.git [torproject.org] .
        - Switch to Torbutton 1.6.5 (Closes: #6371).
            Â Prevent Torbutton from asking users to "upgrade TBB".
            Â Use the same Tor SOCKS port as the TBB (9151) for our web browser.
                This should be enough to avoid being affected by Tor#8511.
            Â Disable Torbutton 1.6's check for Tor.
                Unfortunately, the new check.torproject.org breaks the remote Tor
                check. We cannot use the local Tor check with the control port. So,
                the shortest and sanest path to fixing the check issue, because the
                remote Tor check is broken" seems to simply disable this check.
                Patch submitted upstream as Tor#10216.
        - Prepare incremental upgrades to be the next default way to upgrade Tails,
            on point-releases at least.

    * Bugfixes
        - Deny X authentication only after Vidalia exits (Closes: #6389).
        - Disable DPMS screen blanking (Closes: #5617).
        - Fix checking of the persistent volume's ACL.
        - Sanitize more IP and MAC addresses in bug reports (Closes: #6391).
        - Do not fail USB upgrade when the "tmp" directory exists on the
            destination device.
        - Tails Installer: list devices with isohybrid Tails installed
            (Closes: #6462).

    * Minor improvements
        - Create a configuration file for additional software if needed
            (Closes: #6436).
        - Translations all over the place.
        - Enable favicons in Iceweasel.
        - Do not propose to make permanent NoScript exceptions.
            In Tails, every such thing is temporary, so better only display the menu
            entry that's about temporarily allowing something.
        - Clearer warning when deleting persistent volume (thanks to Andres Gomez
            Ramirez for the patch).
        - Make wording in Tails Installer more consistent.

    [ WinterFairy ]
    * Use IBus instead of SCIM (Closes: #6206).
        It makes it possible to input passwords in pinentry for at least Japanese,
        Chinese and Korean languages.
    * Add an import-translation script.
        This automates the importation process of completed translations
        from Transifex.
    * Always list optimal keyboard layout in the greeter (Closes: #5741).
    * Fix on-the-fly translation of the greeter in various languages
        (Closes: #5469).

    [ Kytv]
    * Update I2P to 0.9.8.1 (Closes: #6080, #5889).
    * Improve I2P configuration:
        - Disable IPv6 support in a nicer way.
        - Disable i2cp (allows java clients to communicate from outside the JVM). If
            this is unset an exception for port 7654 would need to be added to ferm.
        - Disable "in-network" updates (this is also done in the regular I2P
            packages).
        - Disable the outproxies. Access to the Internet is already routed through
            Tor so these are unnecessary. If end-users have a good reason to go
            through one of the I2P outproxies they can turn them back on.
    * Add a couple of default I2P IRC channels to Pidgin.
    * Allow access to the local 'eepsite' through FoxyProxy.
    * Add firewall exceptions for the standard I2P ports.

  -- Tails developers Sat, 30 Nov 2013 16:47:18 +0100

###

Home:
https://tails.boum.org/ [boum.org]

V.0.22 News:
https://tails.boum.org/news/version_0.22/index.en.html [boum.org]

Download:
https://tails.boum.org/download/index.en.html [boum.org]

###

Numerous security holes in Tails 0.21

https://tails.boum.org/security/Numerous_security_holes_in_0.21/index.en.html [boum.org]

###

Latest release
http://dl.amnesia.boum.org/tails/stable/tails-i386-0.22/tails-i386-0.22.iso [boum.org]

Cryptographic signature
https://tails.boum.org/torrents/files/tails-i386-0.22.iso.sig [boum.org]

If you're not sure what the cryptographic signature is, please read the part on verifying the ISO image.
https://tails.boum.org/download/index.en.html#verify [boum.org]

BitTorrent download
https://tails.boum.org/torrents/files/tails-i386-0.22.torrent [boum.org]

Cryptographic signature

The cryptographic signature of the ISO image is also included in the Torrent.

Additionally, you can verify the signature of the Torrent file itself before downloading it.
https://tails.boum.org/torrents/files/tails-i386-0.22.torrent.sig [boum.org]

###

https://tails.boum.org/tails-signing.key [boum.org]

Build their own utility poles (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | about 8 months ago | (#45662017)

Then sub-lease access to a whole new ecosystem of internet startups that aren't telco/cable either. Then again, this is all based upon the laws/regs which are subject to change.

Utility poles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662067)

Havn't seen them in even the smallest town since the 1960's in my country.

Time to provide city/municipality owned neutral right-of-way conduits open to any telecom provider in the US? Sweden has 50+ telcos & low prices. On 1 gig fiber right now

Google as a Telcom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662189)

Telcom's are heavily regulated (FCC, public service commission, et al), and it wouldn't really benefit them in the short term. Long term it could because they would have access to the USF (Universal Service Fund), and possibly even NTCA (Rual broadband) for cost recovery with tax payer dollars.

Obviously the smartest thing for Google would to make a new subsidiary for a CLEC (Competitive local exchange carrier). They might even break even on cost deployment with the cooperate welfare provided for via the various legal means for telecommunications companies.

The only downside to all this would be the necessity to also provide telephony services as well as internet services.

Those telephony services (VoIP) can easily be delivered on the same fiber as their intended deployment, and be completely kosher with FCC requirements for a telcom.

A little more cost upfront could actually help Google turn a profit by working the same system that is currently screwing US citizens.

Why String the Cables from Poles? (1)

Maclir (33773) | about 8 months ago | (#45662249)

Surely, with all of our experience with what natural events (strong winds / tornados / hurricanes / ice stoems) can do to aerial cables, wtf isn't the city / state mandating that all new utility services are run underground?

Competition (1)

koan (80826) | about 8 months ago | (#45662299)

Is best for the consumer.

AT&T Is Right - Easy Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45662321)

AT&T is absolutely correct that the laws and rules that cover the poles (That AT&T owns!) specifically apply to telecoms.

Google can easily resolve the issue by establishing a shell company like GF-Facilities, LLC. as a telecom. GF-Facilities, LLC. then owns and installs the fiber on the poles and leases transit on said fiber back to the Google fiber project. They can do it for a tax saving loss, to boot!

Skulduggery, it's how business gets done and, trust me, Google knows how to play the shell game!

arguments over the poles (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 8 months ago | (#45662385)

Who owns the poles? More importantly, who MAINTAINS the poles? In a lot of areas you've got your local telecom but it's AT&T who is responsible for maintaining the physical infrastructure. Verizon, Centurylink, TDS, etc might be your provider. That's great. Kudos to you for living in an area where they run things! When some drunk idiot or a storm knocks over the pole carrying your connection to your house/office, more often than not it's AT&T that your provider contacts to repair things. If they (AT&T) are responsible for maintaining the physical infrastructure that Google is leasing, they should some say in who uses their poles. Other ISP's/carriers do it so Google can to. C'mon Google. Put your big boy pants on and abide by the same rules that your competition follows.
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