Mediacom squashes beef with Iowa city over Google Fiber deal

Mediacom struck a settlement agreement with the city of West Des Moines, Iowa to end a more than year-long scuffle over what the operator claimed was an illegal deal between the municipality and Google Fiber.

The exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but a West Des Moines representative told Fierce it will allow the municipality to move ahead with construction of a $50 million city-wide conduit network. Mediacom’s SVP of government and public relations Thomas Larsen added it will allow the operator to tap into that conduit infrastructure “where we need it” and overlash aerial assets in other spots to accelerate its 10G network upgrade there.

“Although we are not allowed to comment on specific items in the settlement, the City of West Des Moines and Mediacom are pleased we were able to address each other’s concerns and come to a resolution that serves the needs of residents and businesses,” the city representative said in an emailed statement. “Our goal all along has been to encourage and embrace competition in the marketplace, and Mediacom’s interest in using portions of the conduit network to expand its service in West Des Moines furthers that goal.”

RELATED: Mediacom takes Iowa Google Fiber complaint to FCC

Mediacom’s dispute with the city dates back to 2020, when city officials struck a deal to bring Google Fiber on as the first tenant on the aforementioned conduit network. That arrangement was announced in July. Mediacom filed a lawsuit against the city in December of that year, claiming the deal with Google Fiber was illegal. It asked a district court to order the city to put the conduit project on hold. A trial was scheduled to begin in April of this year.

In May 2021, Mediacom took the matter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking the agency to review the arrangement between the city and Google Fiber.

The settlement deal must still be approved by a judge, but if it is accepted Larsen confirmed to Fierce it will resolve the lawsuit and Mediacom will withdraw its FCC petition.

“We were able to reach what we view as a favorable settlement with West Des Moines,” Larsen stated. “The residents and business in the city will benefit from the multi-gigabit upload and download speeds that we will be able to offer using the 10G platform.”

RELATED: Google pushes fiber in San Antonio, Atlanta, Des Moines, Austin

In September 2021, Google said it had begun laying fiber in the city's conduit network and planned to offer 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps service to customers in the Northeast corner of the city once the first segment of its fiber infrastructure was complete.