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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > FCC demands information from AT&T on frozen 100 city fiber build

FCC demands information from AT&T on frozen 100 city fiber build
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Nov 15, 2014, 11:32 AM
Just days after AT&T said that it would pause new gigabit fiberoptic deployments pending resolution of the net neutrality discussion, the US Federal Communications Commission has requested information on the buildout. The FCC is demanding information on the current number of households that the carrier provides fiber to, the demographic breakdown of those locations, and proof that the AT&T investment model in fiber is unprofitable as it claims now or in the future.

During an analyst conference on Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the company is considering putting a hold on its build-out of gigabit fiber networks for select cities in the US until a decision is made on net neutrality rules. Stephenson claimed that "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."

Stephenson is taking issue with potential Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers. Title II regulation of broadband would apply oversight to ISPs similar to that of utilities, such as water and power. While the ISPs and some governmental supporters believe the FCC may not even have this power, if implemented, US broadband access would be more tightly monitored for abuses, predatory pricing, and other anti-consumer measures, with the result of Americans paying more money for less service than is widely seen in most other countries.

Additionally, the ISPs would be subject to independent ombudsmen, deciding if the companies were taking advantage of their power over consumers. President Obama has openly declared his support for Title II oversight, to the concern of the ISPs.

The letter by Jamillia Ferris, the ex-Justice Department antitrust attorney who is heading the DirecTV acquisition investigation, sees discrepancies with AT&T's statements both now, and when it promised to build out fiber to two million additional homes as a condition of the deal -- AT&T claims that it will adhere to this statement, but claimed that the 100 cities it had planned for construction would not see the expansion. Ferris wants AT&T to name names, and do it before November 21.

AT&T is redirecting the issue, disregarding its CEO's declaration, and issuing a statement that it is "happy to respond to the questions posed by the FCC in its review of our merger with DirecTV. As we made clear earlier this week, we remain committed to our DirecTV merger-related build-out plans."

( Last edited by NewsPoster; Nov 17, 2014 at 03:59 AM. )
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Nov 15, 2014, 01:30 PM
Do I understand Net neutrality right? ISPs sell me a connection with a certain speed. Then, they sell the content providers that I want to use the same connection? Is that like paying for next day delivery of a package by the shipper and the receiver? Sounds like a good biz to be in, selling the same thing twice. I think if they are providing phone service, THAT service should be regulated like a phone (to be fair to the traditional phone companies because it's a phone). So how about the rest? The problem is the 'internet' is different then the previous industries. If anything, it's a lot like all them wrapped up into one. It's basically radio, TV, news paper, and more - all in one. The cable and phone companies are just lucky that their already existing connections are capable of this kind of distribution or their whole industries would be SOL. I wish there was another way of content distribution that could compete with the wires we already have, then there would be some real competition.
Mike Wuerthele
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Nov 15, 2014, 02:49 PM
The net neutrality issue isn't just net neutrality. Now, the prospect of Title II regulation of an industry known for terrible customer service has come in, making it a super-hot button issue.

All wrapped up in this are peering deals like those with Netflix (who brings up exactly what you're talking about, paying twice for the same thing), and other inside Baseball networking provisioning things.

This all around is an ugly issue.
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Nov 15, 2014, 10:29 PM
Net Neutrality is nothing more than government thuggery, because after all they aren't involved in quite everything yet. Don't be fooled by their 'noble' claims. It's nothing more than controlling, regulating and robbing private citizens of the money THEY earned. The feds are out of control, and the more people buy that government is more interested in their well being than their neighbor, the worse it's going to get.
Charles Martin
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Nov 16, 2014, 04:04 AM
mgpalma: are you sure you didn't mean the opposite of what you wrote? Net neutrality is what for the most part the US has now -- every website you visit is given equal priority. The current proposals coming from the FCC and the carriers might be described the way you picture it, but aren't implemented as of yet. Currently, apart from the public at large, only President Obama is arguing for true net neutrality -- and has (in addition) added an endorsement of the idea of Title II regulation to address the price-jacking and horrible customer service most carriers currently provide.

It's important to remember that "net neutrality" and "Title II regulation" are not the same thing -- the first is far more important, ultimately, than the second.
Charles Martin
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Nov 16, 2014, 03:24 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^ thumbs up. MGPALMA, quit falling for GOP/libertarian nonsense. The ISPs have, at best, an oligopoly and in many markets it is either an effective duopoly or monopoly. If the private market had been left to its own devices, there would be no internet as we know it today. It would be a series of walled-off gardens with fees everywhere you look to go outside your network and connect to other networks. This is exactly what ISPs are trying to do with their scheme to charge additional fees on top of their already-extortionate fees for levels of service inferior to much of what the rest of the world enjoys, even those 'socialist' European countries.
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