What’s every incumbent ISP’s worst nightmare? If we had to guess, it looks something like the filing that Google just made with the Federal Communications Commission. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Google this week told the FCC that reclassifying broadband providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act would have a big side benefit for Google Fiber because it would give Google Fiber the same access to utility poles and other key infrastructure currently enjoyed by Comcast, AT&T and other big-name ISPs.
In particular, Google tells the FCC that it’s had trouble gaining access to some utility poles, ducts, conduits and rights of way while it’s been rolling out Google Fiber. If it were regulated more like a utility, Google Fiber would be given access to these pieces of infrastructure, which would make it much cheaper and easier to build out its high-speed fiber network in new markets.
“Pole access is fundamental and Google will never be able to make the case for Google Fiber without pole access,” former FCC chairman Reed Hundt tells the Journal. If Title II gives Google pole access, then it might really rock the world with broadband access.”
So to recap: Title II reclassification would not only slap ISPs with regulations they don’t want to deal with but it would also open the door for Google Fiber in more markets. If that’s not Comcast’s worst nightmare, I don’t know what is.