Atlanta-based Cox Communications has filed a lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona, for allegedly giving preferential treatment to Google Fiber.
Cox says the city of Tempe is violating federal and state laws.
According to the complaint, the cable giant has repeatedly asked the city for permission to install cables along telephone poles, but the city said no. But when Google Fiber asked, the city gave the permissions.
That's because the city of Tempe is allowing Google Fiber to skip FCC regulations by calling it a "video service provider."
Todd Smith with Cox Communications says it doesn't normally comment on active litigation but said Tempe residents "should have the opportunity to get television and internet service from providers who are willing and able to meet the same government rules and regulations, especially those that protect customer privacy and property rights."
"It is the city’s responsibility to ensure that happens," Smith said. "Unfortunately, Tempe created a different set of rules for a new provider that waived important customer privacy and property protections."
An Unfair Advantage
Atlanta attorney Ajay Jindia said this may be giving Google Fiber an unfair advantage.
"[Cox] is saying that there's a certain way you have to treat cable operators and that Google Fiber, no matter what you want to call them, meets the definition of a cable operator," Jindia said.
He said what happens in Tempe will likely impact what happens in other cities, like Atlanta, where Google Fiber is in the process of establishing service.
"Google Fiber has pretty much said they're going to be competing against AT&T, Dish and all the cable companies on providing video content and streaming TV," Jindia said. "So it seems like they should be subject to the same regulatory requirements."
You can read Cox's lawsuit below.