Cable companies attack Tennessee bill on utility pole fees

photo Tennessee Senator Bo Watson

Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

NASHVILLE - Republican Sen. Bo Watson, of Chattanooga, said Monday his bill establishing a framework to handle pole attachment issues between the public power distributors that own them and investor-owned cable companies is an attempt to resolve the years-long fight.

But the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, which represents cable operators such as Comcast, charges the bill will result in a "new, outrageously high fee on broadband providers across the state."

The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, is scheduled to come before a Senate committee today.

Watson said the bill is an attempt to resolve issues between the cable industry and municipal electric services, such as Chattanooga's EPB, and rural electric cooperatives.

"If