AT&T, Poster Child For Government Favoritism, Mocks Google Fiber For Government Favoritism

from the glass-mansions dept

You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of government-pampered mono/duopoly than AT&T. For years, the ISP has all but bought state laws protecting it from broadband competition. When simply buying awful state laws proves too cumbersome or obvious, it often tries to use poison pills in unrelated legislation (like traffic laws) to hinder competitors. The end result is a laundry list of states like Tennessee that remain broadband backwaters, quite by AT&T design, as the company uses state legislatures as glorified marionnettes, all marching in line to protect the status quo.

That's why it's more than a little amusing to see AT&T pen a new blog post that mocks Google Fiber's lack of progress (in part thanks to AT&T), while maligning the upstart ISP for "seeking out government favoritism at every level":
"Google Fiber will no doubt continue its broadband experiments, while coming up with excuses for its shortcomings and learning curves. It will also no doubt continue to seek favoritism from government at every level. Just last week Google Fiber threatened the Nashville City Council that it would stop its fiber build if an ordinance Google Fiber drafted wasn’t passed. Instead of playing by the same rules as everyone else building infrastructure, Google Fiber demands special treatment and indeed in some places is getting it, unfairly."
First, let's just get out of the way that the idea of AT&T, now bone-grafted to our intelligence agencies' domestic surveillance efforts, giving anybody a lecture on government favoritism deserves a major hypocrisy award.

What's AT&T actually upset about? Google Fiber has been pushing to reform utility pole attachment rules, one of several layers of regional bureaucracy telecom monopolies used to slow broadband competitors from coming to market. Google Fiber's been pushing cities like Louisville and Nashville for "one touch make ready" laws that let a single, insured contractor move any ISPs' hardware -- often reducing installation from half a year to just a month. AT&T's response? To sue cities like Louisville for overstepping their authority. Such decisions, AT&T argues, should be left up to the state regulatory bodies that AT&T all but owns.

AT&T's taking the opportunity to kick Google Fiber while it's down, the company plagued by recent rumors that it's pausing a handful of unannounced cities to consider supplementing fiber service with wireless broadband. Sources with knowledge of Google Fiber's plan tell me many of the reports about Google Fiber hitting deployment "snags" have been either overstated or in error, but the fact that Google Fiber hasn't publicly clarified its dedication to expansion suggests there likely is some possible restructuring going on as the company takes stock of its recent Webpass acquisition and eyes wireless as a way to supplement fiber.

Regardless, AT&T's blog post goes to great lengths to lecture Google Fiber about the limited impact of its gigabit fiber to the home deployments. This, despite the fact we've highlighted time and time again how AT&T's own gigabit deployments are dramatically and misleadingly overstated (something I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release."). Amusingly, AT&T's Joan Marsh also goes out of her way to mock Google Fiber for recently saying it might have to abandon Nashville as a launch market if AT&T and friends don't get out of the way:
"Meanwhile, without excuses or finger-pointing, and without presenting ultimatums to cities in exchange for service, AT&T continues to deploy fiber and to connect our customers to broadband services in communities across the country. Welcome to the broadband network business, Google Fiber. We’ll be watching your next move from our rear view mirror. Oh, and pardon our dust."
Right, like that time AT&T falsely threatened to withhold all fiber deployments if the government passed net neutrality rules?

There are plenty of things AT&T is perfectly suited to give lectures on. How to buy state legislatures and laws? Sure. How to help government tap dance around the law to spy on Americans? Yup. How to turn the other cheek while scammers rip off your customers and the hearing impaired? Sure tootin'. But AT&T giving lectures on government favoritism, integrity and level playing fields is kind of like receiving lectures on halitosis from twelve-day-old road kill.

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  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 8:58am

    Gotta love the irony here. We have a AT&T VP criticizing Google for it's short comings when AT&T's own failure have been going on for years with failure to deploy and even bring better broadband services to various states.

    Meanwhile this AT&T VP is forgetting is they and other providers teamed up to deny Google access to their poles, and have gone to great lengths to get cities, and state governments to pass stautes that would thwart competitiors and limit what municipalities could do on their own to bring a company like Google into build out in their town/city.

    So it's more than a little rich that the AT&T VP is knocking Google when AT&T history isnt exactly a beacon of light. All it shows is how much of an irritant Google was to them in the cities and states where AT&T had to actual do something to compete with another provider.

    Not to worry though I am sure AT&T will continue to pillage the consumers pockets while doing the least possible in the way of improvements and satisfying the customer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:09am

    "... Google Fiber threatened the Nashville City Council that it would stop its fiber build if an ordinance Google Fiber drafted wasn’t passed..."

    as opposed to

    "... threatened that its lobbyists would stop sending large checks...". That would be the AT&T method.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2016 @ 4:17pm

      Re:

      umm if the ordinance was about getting access to he poles, and they can't install without it, that would seem not so much a threat as a requirement prior to starting installs/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:26pm

      Re:

      Especially absurd when the threat Google supposedly made to the city council was more or less "we can't install the fiber you want us to without access to the poles, and we're being denied access by the law."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:19am

    I'd like to see some comparisons between the services and subscriber numbers in cities where Google managed to deploy fiber successfully (after these legal walls were lower or easier to go through) and AT&T was already there. This would be rather telling I suspect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SpaceLifeForm, 1 Sep 2016 @ 9:45am

    Universal Service Fund

    Not working so good last two decades.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Service_Fund

    In 2011, the FCC made material changes in the USF program, largely benefiting the largest traditional telephone companies in the country, which now have double the access to funding that they had before those changes. Smaller traditional and wireless carriers were given reduced access to support going forward, which means that unless the FCC makes future changes, the country will depend in large measure on two carriers to carry out broadband deployment and ongoing operations in rural areas in the future, and in very rural areas of the country, service may diminish

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Universal Service Fund

      If the USF ever did anything aside from adding to the profit margin of large telecoms, and later, ISPs, the entire planet could probably have been wired twice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 12:32pm

    ...AT&T continues to deploy fiber and to connect our customers to broadband services in communities across the country.


    What country would that be? The Duchy of Grand Fenwick?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      They really like to light up already buried fiber in a single housing development, then insist the entire market has "launched." There's a few areas (North Carolina, Austin) where they're really working because they've been forced to, but by and large these deployments are just cherry picking a few small locations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 1 Sep 2016 @ 7:32pm

    Continuing the metaphor... Or rather starting it properly:
    "Now that we siphoned your fuel, drilled holes in your engine and stuck nails in your tires... We’ll be watching your next move from our rear view mirror. Oh, and pardon our dust."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Panha, 24 Sep 2016 @ 2:47am

    PO

    It is so interesting information. How did the Google fiber find the solution?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Who cares, 17 Nov 2016 @ 2:51am

    XxxX

    AT&T is Xfinity

    Cable is tv
    Tv : Public Television

    Grow up

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ESR - Agence de communication (profile), 18 Nov 2016 @ 3:43am

    Agence de communication

    ESR (Eric Schekler Réalisations) est une agence de communication globale, nous sommes implantés à Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois dans l’Essonne (91) et a Paris dans le 19ème arrondissement, nous intervenons sur toute l’île de France et ses alentours. ESR Agence de communication

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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