Louisville Metro Council approves ordinances aimed at streamlini - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Metro Council approves ordinances aimed at streamlining Google Fiber installation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro Council approved two proposals Thursday night that should help make Louisville a more attractive and easier option for companies wanting to bid on fiber internet installation.

"Tonight's vote puts Louisville one step closer toward becoming a Google Fiber city -- and lays the groundwork for expansion of gigabit services by other providers," Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement Thursday night. "This was also an affirmative vote to grow the economy and jobs."

The measures included a plan to consolidate all of Jefferson County’s cities into one entity for contract negotiations and a plan to allow a new company's workers to move existing utility wires during installation.

Consolidating all 83 municipalities in Jefferson County into one negotiating group would save any fiber company time to set up an installation plan. There didn’t seem to be any opposition to that.

The second proposal relates directly to the installation work. The ordinance, sponsored by Democrat Bill Hollander, would allow new providers like Google Fiber to rearrange or move other provider’s equipment on poles at the same time the new lines are installed.

That measure passed 23-0 at the full council meeting.

A Google Fiber rep said without the ordinance adjusting the permissions of installation workers, the process could take up to almost 60 months. With the change, it was estimated to take 24-36 months.

"This is an opportunity to propel this type of investment for any company to make this type of investment in Louisville, in Jefferson County, in the region," said Google's Chris Levendos to council members. 

Under current rules, each provider would have to send a contractor to move its equipment to make way for new services like Google Fiber.

But existing companies AT&T and Time Warner Cable opposed the ordinance.

During Thursday's committee of the whole meeting, an AT&T representative proposed giving current utility pole owners 60 days notice before any work take place. Hollander and others dismissed this idea and moved forward with the ordinance.

"It's really a day where we're going to look back and say we took a step to move Louisville forward," Hollander said following the vote Thursday night. "High speed internet is the future. It's so important."

Louisville is on the short-list of cities Google is considering to install its ultra-fast internet and television service, but it isn’t guaranteed. The service would boost upload and download speeds for homes and businesses by as much as 100 times, but leaders say it needs to be an easy process for the company.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Mike Pedelty said in an email the company “supports the city’s goal to streamline access to infrastructure in order to expand broadband service, and we’ve advocated this for several years. 

“However, it’s vital to ensure the protection of TWC customers, including major hospitals, universities and important facilities across Louisville, from outages resulting from a less-than-sound construction process. That’s why we’re working constructively with the city on reasonable, common-sense amendments to ensure telecommunications providers can extend service quickly across the city.”

"Change is hard for anybody and new competition can sometimes be difficult," Hollander said. "But it does not just apply to Google."

This post has been updated.

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