AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided

“AT&T will pause investments to bring fiber connections to 100 cities until U.S. regulators iron out rules to regulate how Internet service providers manage their Web traffic, the company’s chief executive told investors Wednesday,” Reuters reports.

“‘We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,’ CEO Randall Stephenson said,” Reuters reports. “‘We think it is prudent to just pause and make sure we have line of sight and understanding as to what those rules would look like,’ he added.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
What Apple’s new content delivery network means for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – and for you – August 19, 2014
Apple’s content delivery network now live; paid interconnect deals with ISPs, massive capacity in place – August 1, 2014
Apple’s content delivery network is reportedly live and it’s positively massive – July 31, 2014
Apple negotiating paid interconnect deals with ISPs for their own Content Delivery Network – May 20, 2014

There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


      1. He is neither paranoid nor is he wrong. This is exactly why you DO NOT want the FCC regulating the Internet. It doesn’t need regulation, so they will be forced or pressed into finding things to regulate. The most immediate target: CONTENT.

        The moment a government agency has regulatory authority over any entity, the ability to milk it for money is next. Expect TAXES. 5% for this group, 3% for that cause, and so on.

        The Internet has spectacularly grown and flourished independent of any government intervention or regulation. It is a glaring example of the emergence of order out of chaos based on nothing more than intelligent cooperation.

        Giving POLITICIANS a hand hold on the Internet will be the day the network died. Corrupt politicians will give even more power to businesses to squelch innovation than ever before. The only way the internet can stay free is if the government(s) stay away from it.

        1. The paranoia is assuming that the FCC will somehow curb the growth of the internet, rather than assuming that the FCC will make sure that it stays open and competitive. Right now the few big-name ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, ATT) want to structure an internet that is based on the Cable TV model: break it up into pieces so that they can charge packages to consumers. Want to use Netflix-pay more. Want to shop on Amazon-pay more. This is EXACTLY why they are so adamant about this fight.

          But don’t worry, Obama’s words are only that: words. With the head of the FCC (Obama’s appointee, btw) being a previous lobbyist for cable and wireless companies, I doubt there is anything to worry about. Obama can only advise the FCC not dictate it and with the Chairman being a lobbyist, I see Comcast and all the rest getting exactly what they want.

          This move by ATT is simply blackmail to force the public to turn towards their side (which the majority of the public is not).

          If you lived near me (in Northern California) you’d quickly discover that there is NO competition for other high-speed solutions other than Comcast. (There is DSL competition because, ta da, the phones lines are a public utility!) Comcast has a complete monopoly on high-speed internet, charge me a fortune, and (this is true) when I asked to pay more for a faster speed, they would only do that IF I agreed to a 3 year contract. Who ever heard of a customer wanting to pay more for service, but only IF they sign a lengthier contract? This, after being a customer for over 10 years.

          I say make it a public utility, increase competition, break up these f’ing monopolies, and remove any chance that corporate ISPs will dictate what I can or cannot view.

            1. There are many economic reasons for businesses becoming utilities outside of government mandate. Any critical function that requires massive investment will have an economic tendency to become a utility.

              And in any case, recognizing that a business has become a utility immune from normal market forces isn’t the same as mandating that it should be one.

              The point of recognizing a utility for what it is, is to force the utility to either compete again (by enabling new entrants) or at least stop the utility from holding back competition on adjacent areas of commerce (such as by treating all partners equally).

              If you want telecoms to not harm the economy given their lack of market responsiveness, you either need to break them up, force them to work with competitors until the market has real competition again, or require them not to leverage their gatekeeper status on other areas.

              Or you could just decide that telecoms don’t need competition, which his what their lobbyists would love you to believe. (See there crazy argument that they need to keep merging because they already have lots of competition. lol)

            2. and pre-1982, before the court-mandated break-up of Bell, it competed with no one, hence, it was a government-imposed utility: THAT COMPETED WITH NO ONE. You still haven’t answered the question – name a government-imposed utility that competes?

          1. If it is a public utility, then there is no competition.
            I repeat-If it is a public utility, then there is no competition.

            And if you break them up, what makes you think they will still have the capital to invest in….oh, what the hell, I can’t educate everyone.

            Here’s what Obama should’ve done for you in California, a place so liberal that the Democrat leaning Comcast has a ‘monopoly’ in your area, and that is to appoint someone to head the FCC that is as inept as he is as President by having absolutely no experience in telecommunications. Problem solved!

            1. …sounds to me like the situation he describes in Northern California regarding Comcast is a matter of anti-trust, if they are indeed illegally squashing any competition. It doesn’t require creating an Obamanized Ministry Of Truth For The Internet.

            2. More like this-

              He says it has no competition, then says there is DSL, then says it’s a monopoly.

              BTW, sometimes when a customer wants much faster speed in an area, the provider may need to update some line equipment to deliver that to you. What they don’t want to do is spend that money and then lose the customer two months later. Three years is extreme, two normal but one should be sufficient. You can usually play cable and DSL against each other for the best terms (even if you are planning on staying with one regardless).

            3. You are right, a breakup to recreate healthy competition would be a perfectly good alternative solution to net neutrality.

              But neither Democrats or Republicans are working toward that, so its a reasonable but moot point.

            4. yeah, well you forgot about a little thing we have here in America..called due process. Comcast would have to be convicted of an illegality before in any court-mandated monopoly break-up. Where’d you take Econ 101? Karl Marx U?

  1. This is the same ploy that AT&T did over a decade ago with DSL. It is purely opportunistic.

    What AT&T really wants to do is shut down its antique rural copper wireline network without deploying a modern replacement.

      1. Cellular is not a sensible substitute for a high-speed wireline connection – especially on a Mac.

        Perhaps some technologies like the Artemis pCell will improve wireless connectivity someday – but our nation still needs a good fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure to compete globally. AT&T’s performance on deploying fibre has been dismal.

        1. It’s a business and fiber build-outs are expensive.

          How long for an ROI for that rural community of 200 to build to the curb? Will it beat satellite and twisted pairs lower overhead? Will every house passing become a subscriber? Can every house afford it?

          And why do we need fiber to the curb to be globally competitive?
          As large as our country is, we need to invest more for fiber buildout in larger areas that need it for schools and businesses.

          Keep something in mind: There are only so many crews that can put fiber in place. Do you REALLY want them running it to places that can be served in the meantime with LTE?

            1. This should be used to help low-income families get a voucher for maybe $50 a month that can only be used for an ISP, whether cable, DSL, FIOS, LTE or other. It could not be used for anything else.

              This would create more incentive to compete in poorer neighborhoods without taking away the business motivation of giving it to one type of delivery under Title II.

      2. AT&T offers 5GB of LTE data for about $50.

        That would let you download ONE or TWO HD movies from iTunes a month. Not exactly a replacement for Fiber to the premises.

        Funny how AT&T have endless money to buy up other companies but never enough to build out their fiber networks.

        1. How much do you think that fiber will cost per month out in the middle of BFE?

          The price of bandwidth is going down while the ability to deliver it wirelessly is improving.

          Will fiber ever make it to every home in America? Maybe.
          What to do in the meantime?
          Improve wireless.

    1. No, I think it’s a power play by AT&T to essentially threaten that if Net Neutrality is mandated, then they won’t do the fiber deployment at all.

      Which is pure bullshit. They make plenty of money selling connectivity….Net Neutrality simply would limit the extent to which they (& other Broadband providers) can butt-rape their customers.

  2. Why not, ATT?
    You’ve had to do it for uncertain health care laws.
    You’ve had to do it for uncertain tax laws.
    You’ve had to do it for uncertain merger laws.

    I say throw caution (and millions) to the wind and just build, build, build.
    What’s the worst that could happen?
    Government takeover of private property?

    And besides, it’s not like you’re the Keystone Pipeline being held up by the Keynote Cops….

      1. Yeah I was all “Han Solo” about this guy as in “I got a bad feeling about this.” I would have LOVED to have voted for the first qualified black president in history, but too bad the “qualified” part got left out.

        I don’t care what color, race or creed you are as President, but the first qualification is competent and qualified. In this case it was like elevating the janitor of a small college to a university Dean.

          1. Oh God please no. More Clinton escapades and nonsense for this country we don’t need – Clintoni need to retire completely from politics and the public. Bill distracted a country fooling around with an intern and cheating on his wife while terrorists plotted. I’ll never forgive him for that on several immoral levels.

            1. …but it sure would be fun to watch Rand Paul dissect her in a Presidential Debate, kinda like he did in the Senate hearings on Benghazi…”Quite frankly, Madam Secretary, I would have fired you.” hee hee

            2. Well he did something that’s for sure but not to everyone’s liking, repercussions of which are still felt today. But people also forget it was different time and the nation was running just a tad scared and in hindsight overreacting.

              BTW not a fan of either party. They’re all a bunch of calculating, do-nothing (because that could get you into political hot water taking stands), whats-in-it-for-me asswipes. I used to work for a Congressman and knew a City Councilman so I speak from experience.

          2. BTW, a bit of inside baseball, do you know why the Democrat party has resorted to candidates of “firsts?”

            1. Because the Democrat party have no solid base, just an assemblage of fragmented special interest groups, they need a candidate from one of theses groups with whom the others in the hodgepodge can identify.

            2. Being the “first” [fill in the blank: “black,” woman, etc.] president absolves the office holder from most criticism (at least at the start). Democrats can simply scream “racist” or “sexist” whenever opponents object to whatever idiocy they’ve dreamt up this week or when their latest scandal du jour comes to light. (Of course, this only works one way. See: Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin, Allen West, and, soon, Dr. Ben Carson.)

            Also, BTW: Hillary isn’t going to happen. Mark this post for referral on the evening of November 8, 2016.

            1. you may be right, but I have a baseball one for you:

              On Opening Day of the MLB last spring, Obola, and his lovely wife, Assquatch attended..As the game was about to begin, Obola suddenly grabbed Assquatch and threw her onto the field. The Secret Service came a-running, screaming, “No Mr. President, you’re supposed to throw out the first PITCH!”

            2. Completely flawed logic that is simultaneously self serving does one thing: blind you to the truth. The base of any party is a collection of dissimilar interests who agree on the same principals. It may make men who suffer from small duck syndrome feel better to exclaim Hillary won’t happen but that isn’t based on any sound logic.

            3. My quote from above-

              “Here’s what Obama should’ve done…..and that is to appoint someone to head the FCC that is as inept as he is as President by having absolutely no experience in telecommunications. Problem solved!”

  3. AT&T is playing a disinformation game just like Carl Icahn with Apple stock.
    1- If AT&T thinks there is money to be made installing fiber they will do so regardless of common carrier rules. If they do not- someone else will in the mythical free market.
    2- If Carl Icahn thinks Apple stock is undervalued he should be buying every share he can- even on margin- to maximize his return.

    AT&T thinks they can scare people into supporting their desire to deliver the least service for the most money and Carl Icahn thinks he can fool people into supporting worthless buybacks that will make him money.

    What you might want to ask AT&T is why their lobbyists are actively putting legal roadblocks through state laws to make it harder or impossible for public utilities or communities to put gigabit fiber in where they choose not to. They are doing much of this through Koch funded and aligned ALEC- where countless bad bills come from.

  4. pretty complicated issue when wrapped around fiber build out. that itself is biased by local laws, regulation, permitting and available trunking.

    don’t lose any sleep over the increased government role in “managing” the internet, if it does not get done by this january (and it won’t). it because it will be a dead issue. if the fcc starts to respond to barry, congress will throttle finding for the fcc (which may not be a bad idea ives if they don’t muck in neutrality). a throttle for a throttle sounds biblical. so appropriate.

    1. I’m pretty sure AT&T’s treatment of it’s customers won’t change no matter who is president or which party controls congress. As orenokoto notes, they didn’t provide him any better service under Bush 43.

  5. Hey AT&T in our area, you’re just now promising 44Mbps Internet (from from 18Mbps) while TWC just went from 50 to 300 Mbps, and more then 20 for the last 12 years. You advertise Gigapower (gigabit) but severly under deliver. Keep on waiting and competitors will keep running over you.

  6. To my mind, the newly-conservative Congress should tell the FCC to tell internet providers that, in essence, they’re supplying dumb pipes. If they want to supply content as well, build a “Chinese wall” where their supply people compete on the same basis as any other content provider. Then if the internet providers want to throttle content providers, including their own subsidiaries, have at it.

    Regulation should protect the consumer from being taken advantage of unfairly. Any other regulation isn’t the proper place for the hand of government.

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