FCC Calls AT&T's Net Neutrality Bluff, Asks For Proof That Fiber Investment Has Stopped
from the data-or-it-didn't-happen dept
Earlier this week, we mocked AT&T’s pouty and bogus announcement that it was “halting” fiber deployments because of “uncertainty” over the FCC’s decision on net neutrality. As we pointed out, AT&T’s fiber promises were mostly bogus in the first place — using “fiber to the press release” in which it would announce fiber plans, but never actually deliver them (beyond, perhaps, a few carefully chosen developments). Furthermore, AT&T had announced that it was cutting back investment spending a week earlier, totally unrelated to the net neutrality stuff. Pretty much everyone saw AT&T’s announcement as nothing but a ridiculously obvious ploy in response to President Obama’s plan for real net neutrality.
However, it appears the FCC isn’t going to just let AT&T get away with it. It has now sent the company a letter, calling its bluff, and asking for actual evidence that AT&T is really doing anything different as a result of net neutrality uncertainty. The letter notes that AT&T says it will only deliver fiber to the 2 million homes it committed to in hoping regulators would approve its DirecTV acquisition, and then asks for more detailed information on the plans beyond those homes:
(a) Data regarding the Company?s current plans for fiber deployment, specifically: (1) the current number of households to which fiber is deployed and the breakdown by technology (i.e., FTTP or FTTN) and geographic area of deployment; (2) the total number of households to which the Company planned to deploy fiber prior to the Company?s decision to limit deployment to the 2 million households and the breakdown by technology and geographic area of deployment; and (3) the total number of households to which the Company currently plans to deploy fiber, including the 2 million households, and the breakdown by technology and geographic area of deployment;
(b) A description of (1) whether the AT&T FTTP Investment Model demonstrates that fiber deployment is now unprofitable; and (2) whether the fiber to the 2 million homes following acquisition of DirecTV would be unprofitable; and
(c) All documents relating to the Company?s decision to limit AT&T?s deployment of fiber to 2 million homes following the acquisition of DirecTV.
You can almost hear the gritted teeth from AT&T’s spokesperson claiming that the company is “happy to respond to the questions posed by the FCC.” Yes, I’m sure happy is exactly how people there feel…