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Landowners to Consider Fiber Optics Offer

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2001
Property owners in the eastern US will soon be considering whether to grant a fiber optic right-of-way to the Norfolk Southern Railroad's Thoroughbred Technology & Telecommunications Div. in return for cash and stock in the company.

US District Judge Susan Barker has approved a plan to offer landowners $6000 per mile plus stock in the railroad's communications division to end a lawsuit accusing the railroad of trespassing on their land in order to lay optical fiber in the railroad right-of-way.

The class-action lawsuit is one in a series of similar actions against railroad companies that placed or want to place optical fiber along the tracks. Property owners claim that the railroad right-of-way agreements do not allow that use.

AT&T Corp. has agreed to settle a similar lawsuit related to fiber in railroad corridors in Maine, Connecticut, Indiana and Ohio. That settlement includes cash payments from $1 to $145 per linear foot and, for some landowners, an option to join a "Corridor Entity" that could receive income from future fiber optic cable leases.

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