Turns out that AT&T's chief executive was overstating matters when he threatened to put the brakes on broadband expansion plans.
"AT&T still plans to complete the major initiative we announced in April to expand our ultra-fast GigaPower fiber network in 25 major metropolitan areas nationwide, including 21 new major metropolitan areas,” Senior Vice President Robert Quinn said this week in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission.
Quinn's letter comes in response to the FCC's demand that the company explain a statement earlier this month by CEO Randall Stephenson, who tried to link the company's expansion plans to the prospect of net neutrality regulations.
"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," he reportedly told analysts just two days after President Barack Obama called for the FCC to reclassify broadband as a utility. Many net neutrality advocates say that the FCC must reclassify broadband in order to pass the kinds of regulations that would keep broadband providers from charging companies extra for faster delivery of their content.Several days after Stephenson's remarks, the FCC demanded that AT&T clarify how many homes it originally planned to wire for fiber, and how that figure has changed. But even though the telecom says it will proceed with the plans it already announced, the company also warns that it might not undertake new initiatives such as upgrading DSL lines.
The risk of new broadband rules makes it prudent to pause consideration of any further investments ... that might be feasible in the future under a more stable and predictable regulatory regime,” the company says.