A Battle to the Death: How Cox is Fighting Against Google for its Claim on Arizona

October 13, 2015

Cox Communications is taking capitalism to the next level by creating a delay with Google Fiber development in Arizona. With new a new player coming into the market in an area with no competition, Cox is trying its best to put up a fight against the new service that is giving all the other Internet service provides a run for their money.
Google Fiber is a recent addition to the Google family that aims for more affordable and much faster Internet. With its Internet dependent on fiber-optic cables, its speed can get up to 100 times faster than the fastest option that most people have today. Google even offers free Internet to people who live in the areas where it is offered, as long as they pay the installation fee. On top of that, a Google Fiber user can upgrade their service to not only be able to surf the internet at 1Gbps, but also receive over 100 HD television channels for a low price.
With all that Google Fiber has to offer, it’s no wonder Cox is trying to put a stop to it. Since Cox offers both Internet and TV service, its existence will mean direct competition for customers. When Google announced its plans to expand to Tempe, Arizona, Cox filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that Google had violated federal and state law. They claim that Tempe’s determination that Google Fiber is not a cable operator is wrong, which would affect the regulations limiting Google Fiber. In Tempe, a new license category for “video services providers” was created, which would treat companies under that category different from cable operations like Cox, according to the lawsuit. And, according to the Federal Communications Commission, pay-TV companies that offer video services are classified as cable TV operators.

“Tempe’s bald assertion that Google Fiber is not a cable operator is incorrect,” Cox argued. “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.”

This change in classification in Tempe will affect the types of protections that are mandated for providers to give consumers. It can affect things such as protections related to standards of service, consumer information and billing. However, Cox had an opportunity to renegotiate their contract with the city. It seems that they decided a lawsuit was a better option for the road ahead.
This lawsuit in turn has now spread to the surrounding areas. The town of Scottsdale delayed its approval of a deal to bring Google Fiber to the area, seemingly out of fear of Cox’s reaction. The Phoenix Business Journal reported that Scottsdale removed a proposed resolution to grant Google a “video services” license from a City Council meeting held on October 6, 2015. It has been postponed until the end of the month so that Scottsdale can meet with Cox to talk about the current lawsuit filed against Tempe.
Scottsdale believes that bringing Google Fiber to their city may not be in their best interests amid all the legal controversy surrounding the “video services” categorization. “The city believes these questions will more likely be resolved more definitively in the future by the Federal Communications Commission or a similar authority,” said Chief Information Officer Brad Hartig in a statement.
Until this lawsuit is settled, it seems as if consumers will have to wait a while longer before Google Fiber is available to them. The only matter now is to wait and see how many more people and cities will be struck with a delay from this lawsuit.