Laws around who gets access and maintenance right to telephone poles are key to the maintenance of cable monopoly power.
Everyone understands that this is not really about poles at all. (AT&T says that cleaning up the Swamp Two process by allowing a single approved contractor to move things around on poles would “put service reliability and public safety at risk.” Which seems unlikely.) Pole shenanigans represent an exercise of raw, entrenched power. The incumbents don’t want fiber available at a cheap price with a city as a wholesale provider. They’d rather keep things as they are — so Tennessee, for example, remains a state in which more than three quarters of households (and two thirds of businesses) get download speeds that don’t meet the FCC’s requirement of 25 megabits per second. Suffering with slow (or no) internet is like being bashed by big stick of wood.
Nashville is not alone in being pole-axed. AT&T filed a federal lawsuit over a similar Swamp Two city ordinance in Louisville; Connecticut has been stymied in rationalizing its pole regime; Google has had trouble with poles in Silicon Valley; a big fiber effort in Kentucky has run into a buzzsaw of pole issues; and any city thinking about alternative fiber has to now assume it will face a lawsuit if it tries to address its Swamp Two problems. (Source)