Morgantown, W.Va., Settles Internet Service Provider Lawsuit

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court by DBI Networks LLC, doing business as ClearFiber, accused the city of denying access to public rights-of-way by refusing to issue a license agreement.

by Ben Conley, The Dominion Post / September 20, 2019
Most of the bond debt small governments incur is for telecommunications projects, including expanding broadband access to rural Americans. Shutterstock

(TNS) — The city of Morgantown. W.Va., and DBI Networks LLC, doing business as ClearFiber, have reached a settlement in the lawsuit filed on June 4 by the fiber optic Internet service provider.

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, accused the city denying access to public rights-of-way by refusing to issue a license agreement.

This, according to the suit, resulted in prohibition of service; bar to entry; discriminatory management of public rights of way and a violation of due process.

Morgantown Communications Manager Andrew Stacy explained the settlement does not include any type of cash payment.

Essentially, it amends the non-exclusive franchise agreement the parties executed in April 2017.

“Going forward, ClearFiber will be able to place overhead lines in public rights-of-way, but will not be able to place any poles or other structures,” Stacy explained.

The settlement also describes the application process ClearFiber must complete prior to working in the public right-of-way, and lays out a change in franchise fees — from 5% of gross revenues to 25 cents per linear foot of cable placed in the public right-of-way.

Morgantown City Council approved the settlement terms earlier this week.

In July, a lawsuit filed against ClearFiber by the Morgantown Utility Board ended in a default judgment for MUB after the business failed to respond.

MUB was granted $27,795.70 for damages that the utility claimed were caused by ClearFiber at “various locations” between June 2017 and October 2018.

©2019 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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