AT&T halts fiber construct-out till internet neutrality guidelines are sorted
AT&T is placing the brakes on its gigabit fiber web service. CEO Randall Stephenson revealed this morning that the corporate will halt the rollout of the community, which launched in Austin final yr, till it has strong internet neutrality guidelines to comply with. “We will not exit and make investments that sort of cash deploying fiber to one hundred cities not figuring out beneath what guidelines these investments will probably be ruled,” he stated.
Stephenson’s assertion virtually seems like a menace. If AT&T — one of many corporations that is lobbied the toughest towards internet neutrality since 2005 — cannot get its method, then the dream of blazing quick fiber will jut have to attend. And it isn’t the primary contentious assertion from AT&T this week: It swiftly got here out towards President Obama’s professional-internet neutrality remarks on Monday and threatened to sue the FCC. AT&T senior government vice chairman Jim Cicconi, ever the dramatist, stated that if the FCC adopted Obama’s strategies it might be “a mistake that may do large hurt to the web and to U.S. nationwide pursuits.”
Final night time FCC chairman Tom Wheeler reiterated his company’s independence from the White Home and from its requirement to comply with the President’s options. The FCC has traditionally waffled on internet neutrality — earlier this yr the company issued a proposal that also gave corporations leeway in how they handled net content material. It threw internet neutrality activists a bone by opening up an inbox for his or her feedback, however it’s beneath no obligation to truly think about any of that recommendation.
However, whereas AT&T performs a glorified recreation of hen with its fiber community, it stays far behind rivals like Google and Verizon. Google introduced free gigabit fiber web to the Kansas Metropolis space a couple of years in the past and plans to hit Austin in December. And regardless that Verizon has halted its personal fiber rollout, it is nonetheless reaching greater than 18 million clients throughout sixteen states, with over 5 million FiOS clients to date. With its mood tantrum towards internet neutrality, AT&T may find yourself hurting itself.