Altice Promises Massive New Fiber Network, Again Proving Net Neutrality Didn't Stifle Broadband Investment

from the if-you-build-it-they-will-come dept

You might recall that during the fight over net neutrality rules, giant legacy ISPs (and the armies of think tankers, lobbyists and consultants paid to support their often flimsy arguments) repeatedly insisted that if net neutrality rules were passed, tubes would clog, innovation would die, and investment in broadband networks would shrivel up completely. There was no subtlety to these claims; ISP-loyal politicians and hired economists time and time again breathlessly insisted that net neutrality would be a disaster because nobody would be willing to keep building broadband networks.

In the year plus since the rules were passed, we've noted repeatedly how the ISPs' own earnings reports indicate this was never really true. Investment (at least in more competitive) areas has clicked along happily, and you'd be hard pressed to find a single major ISP that has refused to upgrade its network because of "regulatory uncertainty" surrounding the FCC's net neutrality rules. Granted, there are still major market problems caused by cable's growing monopoly in the wake of telcos leaving the rural broadband market, but these problems have absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality.

In fact, in some areas, we're seeing more investment than ever. Wireless providers certainly aren't restricting their spending as they buy spectrum and prepare to deploy massive fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. French ISP Altice has also been spending billions to gobble up ISPs here in the US (Cablevision, Suddenlink), and last week it issued a surprise announcement indicating that it planned to bypass less expensive DOCSIS 3.1 cable broadband upgrades -- and instead deploy fiber to the home service to the lion's share of the company's new American footprint:
"The company’s five-year deployment schedule will begin in 2017, and the company expects to reach all of its Optimum footprint and most of its Suddenlink footprint during that timeframe. Initial rollout markets will be announced in the coming months. In addition to delivering a superior customer experience for the long term, the new architecture will result in a more efficient and robust network with a significant reduction in energy consumption. Altice expects to reinvest efficiency savings to support the buildout without a material change in its overall capital budget."
So again, if net neutrality had made the US broadband regulatory environment so damn unpalatable, why would a French ISP be investing billions to upgrade its network to fiber to the home? Why would Comcast be happily deploying gigabit broadband across its entire footprint? Why would Verizon be promising to deploy FiOS to Boston? Why would Google and Facebook be investing in all manner of alternate broadband delivery ranging from millimeter wireless to drone?

Because the ISPs and their loyal PR foot soldiers were lying through their teeth about net neutrality's impact on broadband investment. Granted this may all be a moot point thanks to an incoming Trump-controlled FCC that wants to gut net neutrality rules entirely, but these distortions and falsehoods are worth remembering the next time we inevitably find ourselves back here once again trying to defend basic rules of a fair and open internet.

Filed Under: broadband, fiber, investment, title ii
Companies: altice


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2016 @ 11:05am

    how is it going to get the 'go ahead' from the incumbent providers and their lackeys in the Senate? and with Trump going to throw net neutrality under the bus, what's the point? it will be bankrupted by the other ISPs anyway. they dont want to do anything themselves and sure as hell dont want any other company to.

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

    • icon
      Oninoshiko (profile), 8 Dec 2016 @ 9:14am

      Read the article not the headline

      They are buying up local providers. They can easily do this without problems because they ARE the incumbent provider.

      Now, the reality is we'll see what happens. I've seen these kind of promises come and go, with nothing to show. That said, if they are competent and really going to do this, can a suggest Altice acquire Mediacom or Frontier?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2016 @ 11:21am

    quick!

    "ISP-loyal politicians and hired economists time and time again breathlessly insisted that net neutrality would be a disaster because nobody would be willing to keep building broadband networks. "

    What is the difference between a lawyer and an economist?

    One blows smoke up your ass and the other blows smoke up a judges ass!

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 7 Dec 2016 @ 11:04pm

    AND???

    Our government Paid WHO, to do this work?? Twice I think..

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

  • icon
    BoredSysAdmin (profile), 8 Dec 2016 @ 5:25am

    Altice reasoning

    is mainly lies with money - they estimate that cost of maintaining and power usage of old cable plants will higher than cost of fiber upgrades over (I assume) short timeframe. So Altice latest FTTPR is not about their consumers getting better internet service, but company saving money in long run.

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

    • icon
      Oninoshiko (profile), 8 Dec 2016 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Altice reasoning

      Frankly, I'm okay with that. I stopped caring about what motivates others to do what I want long ago. I'll pander to whatever motivation achieves my goal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2016 @ 12:26pm

    5G

    LTE Advanced is not 5G. 5G doesn't even exist yet as a standard (what we currently call 4G is actually 3.5G)

    No one is currently preparing to deploy 5G networks. They are just, finally, rolling out the 4G networks they've been telling us we've had for years now.

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


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