Scottsdale delays Google Fiber deal over Cox's lawsuit

The Scottsdale, Ariz., City Council has delayed a decision over granting Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) a video services license until the Oct. 20 meeting  so it could meet with Cox Communications to discuss the cable MSO's beef with the city of Tempe over that city's approval of a similar deal with Google.

Cox filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Arizona last month against the City of Tempe, claiming that the local government developed what it calls a regulatory framework that exempts Google Fiber from obligations imposed on cable operators for its planned fiber rollout in the city.

Specifically, Cox said that Tempe created a new license category for "video service providers" which use fiber-based networks instead of coax cable.

Google Fiber may use fiber to deliver video, but according to the FCC rules it is still considered a cable operator.  

"Tempe's bald assertion that Google Fiber is not a cable operator is incorrect," Cox said in its lawsuit. "And based on this incorrect assertion, Tempe's regulatory scheme allows Google Fiber to provide video programming service to subscribers in Tempe under terms and conditions that are far more favorable and far less burdensome than those applicable to Cox and other cable operators, even though Cox and Google Fiber offer video services that are legally indistinguishable."

Google, meanwhile, has said that it favors building out in cities where there is a favorable regulatory environment and a streamlined process to get permits to hang fiber on existing utility poles and access to other rights-of-way.

For more:
- See this Phoenix Business Journal article

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