Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
broadband, competition, fiber, google fiber

Companies:
at&t, google



AT&T Mocks Google Fiber's Struggles, Ignores It Caused Many Of Them

from the gigabit-hubris dept

Google Fiber executives recently announced that the company would be putting some potential cities on hold as the search giant ponders a pivot to wireless. Building fiber networks from scratch is neither quick nor easy, and there are many at Google who believe that next-generation wireless (especially millimeter wave technology) will allow them to bypass many of the headaches tied to traditional fiber builds. Needless to say, many of the broadband industry's entrenched incumbent ISPs were quick to pounce on Google Fiber's troubles, insisting the Silicon Valley company was finally giving up (it's not).

One such ISP is AT&T, which apparently thought it would be a good idea to celebrate Google Fiber's deployment hiccups with a new blog post lauding its own fiber to the home achievements while deriding Google Fiber as hype and nonsense:
"What some of our competitors are just starting to realize (one after 6 years and only 8 metros) is that this endeavor is challenging. Connecting customers at scale and investing capital today in the future of connectivity is a big deal. Expanding the availability of faster wired and wireless speeds begins with a conversation with cities and customers – not a checklist dictating terms or by pushing cities to enact lopsided legislation.

We don’t take shortcuts. This is about good old-fashioned hard work, not new-age marketing promises that fall short in the end."
Obviously there are a few things AT&T forgets to mention here. One being that AT&T's gigabit fiber deployments only exist because Google Fiber made the entire industry look stupid by offering speeds none of them wanted to provide -- at prices few if any were willing to offer. AT&T's gigabit service appeared only after Google Fiber -- and costs upwards of $50 less each month in markets where Google Fiber provides service. Yet in market after market, AT&T has responded to this obvious impact of actual competition by denying Google Fiber motivated them whatsoever. Most people know better.

Meanwhile, AT&T's own, purportedly superior fiber deployments cited in the piece are based in large part on hot air. The telco has a proud history of fiddling with its broadband coverage numbers, usually to trick regulators into supporting bad policy or mergers (like when it said it would no longer deploy fiber if net neutrality rules passed). With a few regional exceptions (Austin & the Triangle in North Carolina) AT&T's "launched" fiber markets usually consist of a few high-end development communities and some local college dorms (where fiber is already in the ground and installation costs are minimal) and little more.

But the biggest thing AT&T forgets to mention in its blog post is that AT&T has worked tirelessly to unfairly target Google Fiber since inception. Whether it's writing and lobbying for state laws that hamstring Google Fiber's attempts to strike local public/private partnerships, or using pole attachment bureaucracy to make installations a nightmare, AT&T has spent the better part of a generation making things difficult for competitors. As such, mocking what Google Fiber's trying to do as "new age marketing" (damn you, California hippies) while actively sabotaging these efforts is obnoxious.

In reality, AT&T has been skimping on its fixed-line broadband network for years, and is now spending $150 billion to buy DirecTV and Time Warner while its broadband customers flee to faster cable broadband. In fact, AT&T's biggest "innovations" in the fixed-line broadband market have consisted of things like imposing usage caps and usage fees on uncompetitive markets, and trying to charge a huge monthly premium for users to protect their own privacy.

While Google Fiber did pause deployments in eight "potential" (but never formally confirmed) markets to consider a shift to wireless, it's still deploying fiber in nearly a dozen other regions. And should Google Fiber's pivot to wireless be successful, AT&T will likely find its glib celebration to have been more than a little premature.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 6:36am

    ...or by pushing cities to enact lopsided legislation.

    It's like they're oblivious to what they're saying.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:02am

      Re:

      It's simple really: Any legislation that benefits anyone but them is 'lopsided', because clearly AT&T's best interests are the interests of the public, and what benefits AT&T benefits the public.

      As such any law not benefiting or otherwise promoting AT&T's profits and interests is nothing less than a full on assault against the public, if a sneaky, underhanded one in trying to dishonestly claim that the public might not be best served by catering to the paragon known as AT&T.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 6:54am

    I cant wait for the opportunity to drop my att dsl. I only keep it to irk them.

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

  • identicon
    Stan Marsh, 8 Nov 2016 @ 6:55am

    'Cause we're the cabke company

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:25am

    AT&T is so full of crap I find it amazing they are not forced to license themselves as a wastewater treatment plant.

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

  • identicon
    spodula, 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:36am

    "Building fiber networks from scratch is neither quick nor easy"

    It certainly isnt when AT&T and Comcast get involved.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:42am

    I don't get it at all. The people that post comments on these stories seem to love to beat the hell out of big business, yet the majority seem to be Democrat or supportive of liberal/Democrat policies. It appears to me that the Democrat's are pro-big business, so it seems so counter intuitive.

    I get the same feeling when I see someone that claims to be Republican/Conservative hating on the churches.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:47am

      Re:

      Both Democrats and Republicans are pro-big business.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      My impression of the Techdirt audience (which could well be wrong) is there are a lot of libertarians and a lot of liberals. Not exclusively those two of course, but many of both.

      And does anyone really consider the Democrats liberal any more?

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

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re:

        All I know is that Techdirt's commenters like to avoid partisanship. It's one reason why the discourse here is a step above many other websites.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      you are thinking of a hive mind not a varied group of people with very different beliefs from one another, that just might happen to follow 1 political party or another

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

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 7:49am

    I'm lucky enough to live on one of Google's markets, and for the last two years AT&T has sent me three or four mailers a month begging me for their business. AT&T can suck it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 8:33am

    so who expected anything different from AT&T?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2016 @ 9:42am

    Eric Boyer - Senior Vice President for Wired and Wireless Products and Services

    That's a very longwinded way of saying "douchebag".

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

  • icon
    Dismembered3po (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 11:18am

    No...the PUBLIC built it

    The other glaring oversight AT&T makes is...

    The PUBLIC erected the vast majority of the poles...
    The PUBLIC strung most of the wires...
    The PUBLIC dug the vast majority of the trenches...
    The PUBLIC installed most of the conduits...

    AT&T is actively blocking Google from using the infrastructure that WE BUILT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    What does AT&T do if it has to put up more poles or dig more trenches? It TAKES PUBLIC MONEY, PROMISES TO BUILD THE STUFF, NEVER EVEN ATTEMPST TO BUILD THE STUFF, then FLEES THE MARKET OUTRIGHT WHEN THE PUBLIC CATCHES ON.

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

  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 8 Nov 2016 @ 4:19pm

    Dicks.

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

  • identicon
    Jessica Hardin, 9 Nov 2016 @ 12:32am

    Out of their own mouths

    Having worked in the higher ranks of a contractor laying fiber for At&t, I was a part of the lightgig bid & safety meeting, They would specifically lay out that it was to combat google. The major activity the competition in KC was causing major problems for USIC trying to keep up with the impossible amount of requests for utility locates.

    I battled many times with USIC trying to even get someone out there to mark a jobsite after having waited 2 weeks for locates.

    Google & lightgig made the regular jobs difficult.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.