back to article SCREW YOU, net neutrality hippies – AT&T halts gigabit fiber

AT&T has frozen its plans to build a gigabit broadband network in the US – at least until the FCC scraps, er, straightens out net neutrality. The telco's CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson said his company will hold off installing super-high-speed internet connections to homes until the US watchdog decides how it's going to …

  1. Joe Gurman

    Not going to happen, but....

    ....not going to happen with a Republican Congress, but this would be the perfect argument for liberating Gbit Internet from the private corporations and making a massive public works project out of it. Worked for the Interstate highway system.

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Stop

      Re: Not going to happen, but....

      I would propose that the programs from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offer a closer basis for comparison. Not as sure that anything would be "liberated" by letting bureaucrats control it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not going to happen, but....

        So Munchensonton, you're not in favor of current net neutrality and against European style fast networks? You yanks have the slowest networks in the industrialized world.

        1. Preston Munchensonton
          Flame

          Re: Not going to happen, but....

          "So Munchensonton, you're not in favor of current net neutrality and against European style fast networks? You yanks have the slowest networks in the industrialized world."

          I'm for laissez-faire capitalism. The reason the networks look the way they do now is not based on individuals making free choices. It's based on the idiotic, bastardized form of socialism/capitalism that seems to have completely permeated the Federal, state, and local governments of the entire US. Under such a system, businesses and consumers make decisions that are not naturally in their best interest, but try to make do with the insane regulations that twist the market in the complete cluster fuck that exists today.

          Personally, I would rather be able to choose my carrier whenever I wanted, regardless of the speeds available, based on nothing more than the available carriers competing for my monthly spend. Doesn't seem to be a problem for other areas like CPUs, storage, RAM, or local Ethernet networks. Why should any WAN services be different?

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Not going to happen, but....

      I think something will happen with the Republican Congress. Since they love big business (and donations) I suspect that Net Neutrality will legislated away in favor of what the Big ISP's want. But there's a chance things will go wrong or this not happening so I can see where AT&T wouldn't want to endanger their profit structure by investing in new infrastructure. I'm waiting to hear if the others will follow this to see if it's valid.

    3. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Not going to happen, but....

      A government plan - UTOPIA - has not worked out at all well in Utah, so there is some reason to be skeptical about doing it on a national basis.

    4. Nextweek

      Re: Not going to happen, but....

      This is all the wrong argument. This whole debate goes out the window if you restored capitalism to the market place.

      AT&T and the other telcos are monopolies, most people don't get a choice of providers. When people can choose providers you get innovation and downward pressure on price. America is not a capitalist country.

    5. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: Not going to happen, but....

      "Worked for the Interstate highway system."

      That was quite an innovation.

      So too Rural Free Delivery (RFD) of mail, in Mayberry and elsewhere, made it possible for the Sear's Catalog to market trinkets up to including the size of houses to rural areas.

      The Hippies will never get mail-order communes on ATT's watch, you can bet your waving flag on that.

  2. Fazal Majid

    Yeah, right

    AT&T's fiber plans are vaporware, and have been for the last 20 years, despite getting a big chunk of the $200Bn that were supposed to support fiber rollouts.

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html

    Verizon did have the good grace to invest in its infrastructure (FiOS), although it has frozen further rollouts, but AT&T/SBC's corporate culture is to milk its rotting infrastructure for profits and never invest back into it.

    1. foxyshadis

      Re: Yeah, right

      It's just a hoary old rubber chicken that they trot out every time they don't get their way. Every few years they go make a big announcement to keep it fresh in everyone's mind, make a few token rollouts, and then use the rest of the country as pawns until they're finally forgotten about entirely.

      This time it looks like they haven't even bothered to make a token rollout first. Even their pram-tossing fits are victims of cost-cutting these days!

    2. PleebSmash
      Trollface

      Re: Yeah, right

      Meanwhile, Google thinks it can roll out 10 Gbps before 2020.

      I shed a gentle tear for the poor, misunderstood, and most importantly, over-regulated AT&T.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Yeah, right

        Except that AT&T is rich, quite well understood and now that it is no longer Ma Bell, not very highly regulated....

        I have no problems with the cable companies/telcos/ISPs/unholy trinity of all of the above varying charges to end users for higher or lower bandwidth packages, I think it's very fair to charge Mr. "Can't live without my Netflix and Hulu 24 hours a day" for a higher bandwidth package if he wants to assure solid delivery of his streaming video. However, I have a serious problem with open favoritism to certain packet streams based on whether their provider paid for "the fast lane".

        Give me internet access, and let me decide what I want to look at. If I want a cheap, low bandwidth package but all of a sudden I want to stream the all the NCAA basketball March Madness games, well, that's my problem. Likewise, I may want to high bandwidth package and I am willing to pay my fair share for the upgraded fiber capacity to support that demand.

        And I agree with the above sentiments that AT&T always talks about gigabit fiber, and always finds a reason to delay it. Right now, its the ISP service equivalent of Bigfoot or Nessie.

      2. kamikrazee

        Re: Yeah, right

        They abandoned the basics and have chased every fad and buzzword that comes along like it was a teen heart throb. They made this bed, they can get out of it too, but I think they have not a clue.

        And, not that it matters. But I will click submit, and the slowest link in my chain as a router I bought for $7.00 at a garage sale, connected to Google, here at the house. I don't get the full Gb service but they try hard.

        Right now I am seeing 955 Mbps

      3. Oninoshiko

        Re: Yeah, right

        "Meanwhile, Google thinks it can roll out 10 Gbps before 2020."

        In what, two cities? It's all great if you happen to be in one of the areas google is in, but if you aren't it doesn't matter if they are offering 1PB/s connections for free.

        1. PleebSmash

          Re: Yeah, right

          "In what, two cities?"

          https://fiber.google.com/ourcities/

          1. Oninoshiko
            Facepalm

            Re: Yeah, right

            I stand corrected, 3 cities.

            1. PleebSmash
              Facepalm

              Re: Yeah, right

              You'll see that Google Fiber has "started early discussions with 34 cities in 9 metro areas around the United States to explore what it would take to bring a new fiber-optic network to their community."

              How many regional monopolies does Google Fiber have to put to shame before the ISPs start competing again? Do Google Fiber and other entities have to expand gigabit to every city before Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T et al. will improve their services? Keep in mind that Google Fiber plans to make money while doing this, independent of theoretical benefits of more Google users or ad exposure.

              1. Oninoshiko

                Re: Yeah, right

                How many places can I actually get google fibre in? It's not "9 metro areas," it's 3. Those 9 may or may not happen for reasons Google may or may not be able to control. I stand by my statement that it's only available in 3.

                But let's forget that right now, even IF we give them the nine, it's still COMPLETELY USELESS if you are not in one of those 9 cities.

                Chicago: Nope

                New York: Nada

                Miami: None

                Las Vegas: Zip

                New Orleans: Ziltch

                Those are all major metro areas, Google isn't even talking about any of them, let alone those who aren't in a metro area. Even if we assume that everyone Google is in talks with becomes a completed roll-out RIGHT NOW (and I think everyone can agree that's... unrealistically optimistic), it's still such a breathtakingly small percentage of the US that it's not really worth talking about.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, right

      I have high speed AT&T service here (Baton Rouge, LA) ... all 6Mbs of it. They have been promising fibre service for the last mile since the 80's and have done sweet FA about it. But at least I have DSL, I've got relatives who are are still on 14kbs modem service with no hope of anything faster. Thanks AT&T

      USA - most expensive Internet connection for the lowest speed.

      USA - most expensive and least effective medical care in the world.

      Land of the free, home of the brave - well you have to be to put up with some of this ...

      1. phil dude
        Coat

        Re: Yeah, right

        You do know there is a gigabit installation in the next county?

        A little piece of California, nestling in the Bijou...

        P.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, right

      "AT&T's fiber plans are vaporware, and have been for the last 20 years, despite getting a big chunk of the $200Bn that were supposed to support fiber rollouts."

      As I've been saying for some time.

  3. kamikrazee

    Good

    AT&T is fooling itself. It tries hard to believe that it is still an industry leader, but it really doesn't even follow real well. The service it provides is mediocre at best, and the service to most residence customers, (the lowest priority) is, in about 40% os surveyed responses, terrible.

    Net neutrality is not about fairness, it is about building a robust, far reaching delivery system that gets to everyone in the country. The internet is a pipeline, a means to an end, but not the end in itseld, and as such, it out to be supported and lightly regulated. As things are today, the giants of the industry will, literally, bypass some streets because it costs a bit much to provide a higher grade of service, but will eagerly tear up the next street because it was estimated that the cost was cheaper.

    Access needs to be universal throughout a franchise area, and, carriers should not be allowed to pull out of franchise areas due to the inconvenience of having to replace outdated facilities. In return, they ought to continue to enjoy the favorable tax incentives that they currently use to beat states and cities into economic submission.

    AT&T refusing to play only gets one stooge off the field for a while. Good riddance. we need a coherent policy, some government input and leadership herre. Now.

    1. kamikrazee

      Re: Good

      I failed to mention that AT&T, Verizon, Cox et al, are not only transport companies, (the pipeline analogy), but content and service providers as well. They all have some form of TV service, and, if you want to use a competitor, (NetFlix is the popular example), the principle of net neutrality kicks in to keep the pipeline company from hindering or blocking access to providers besides them.

      What would you say if you purchased an internet based home alarm service from someone besides your ISP and they made a point of providing less than a standard grade of speed or bandwidth to the alarm company, who happened to compete with their own offering?

      Consider a scenario where you drove down a highway in a neighboring state, and were restricted to one lane at a lower speed limit than residents of that state. One might think that rights had been stepped on if not outright violated.

      Sorry for the addendum.

  4. William Higinbotham

    Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

    Is Obama trying the same tactic on the Internet as he did with Obama Care?? Equal access services like medical insurance. Like I need rates to go up back to the days of CompuServe. What was it? $16/HR I think?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

      CompuServe was something like $7.95/hr for 300 baud and $23.95/hr for 2400 baud back in 1987. I don't recall the figures in later years as I was handed a sponsored (free) SysOp account in 1989. Hell, I still remember my octal account numbers.

      1. roger stillick
        IT Angle

        Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!, pt.2= CompuServe was dialup...

        By 1987 in the pacific NW (OR, WA) the local ISP was Pacifier at USD $9.00 per month or USD $60.00 per year for 56kb dial-up of a Portland OR, or a Vancouver WA telephone number (PTSN LD charges maxed out at USD $1700.00 per month when you actually used the internet a lot)...this was the DARPA / Sprint internet on long haul fiber down the Columbia river to Portland hub where it peered to PNB and GTE..

        IMHO= CompuServe failed to thrive in the USA mostly because dial-up rates for ATT long distance were mostly cheaper considering the long haul telco routes were fed by 4E digital switches since 1984 on all fiber routes where data was transported... this allowed business standard 9.6 and 19,2 Kb data service on any leased line and 56 kb data on LD dial up over the PTSN...anywhere there were 4E switches (ATT is using the switches today, 30 years later - MOO, milkin the cash cow)... back in 1984 my Grid laptops and Commodore 64's had 300 or 1200 baud dial up modems and EVERYONE had Bulletin Boards on the PTSN (mine was on a dual floppy C64, manually run w/attendent)... i believe CompuServe and Yahoo were bulletin boards back in 1984...RS.

    2. Thorne
      FAIL

      Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

      "Is Obama trying the same tactic on the Internet as he did with Obama Care?? "

      I could never figure out what American's have against universal healthcare. Is it because it infringes on your democratic right to die in the gutter?

      That said the moronic Australian government are trying to bring the same retarded healthcare system in here cause it works so well in #Merica

      1. chris lively

        Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

        Your first mistake is in thinking that ObamaCare was about making sure everyone had access to healthcare. It wasn't. Everyone already had access if you were willing to pay for it.

        It also wasn't about making sure everyone had "affordable" healthcare coverage. I know many people in the lower income area that had to stop paying for any type of insurance because the rates skyrocketed AND they don't qualify for any type of assistance. I'm talking about people who make $35k or less a year.

        Instead it was about making young, healthy people pay for the healthcare of older, unhealthy people. In other words it was entirely about redistribution of wealth. Which is why everyone's rates have gone up *on average* 40% since it was introduced.

        In short, ObamaCare has done nothing but increase the costs of insurance while doing nothing about the costs of healthcare itself and certainly did NOTHING about fixing the problems. If they really wanted to fix things then insurance for everything but catastrophic would be banned outright and the market would self adjust.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          >it was about making young, healthy people pay for the healthcare of older, unhealthy people.

          Wait... so no more people are claiming insurance, but costs have gone up 40%

          Was it that the old sick people weren't getting insured before and now they are, but it costs a lot?

        2. Thorne

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          "Instead it was about making young, healthy people pay for the healthcare of older, unhealthy people."

          Of course young health people pay for the healthcare of older unhealthy people. That's because young healthy people usually don't need a doctor as often and old people do.

          In the end young people become old people and then they use the doctor.

          Universal healthcare takes taxes from everyone and supplies a basic health system for everyone. You pay the taxes when your young and don't need it but it covers you when your old and you do. If you're unemployed or retired you will still be treated and don't have to die in the gutter.

          Health insurance like to cover the young and healthy cause they don't need it so they make massive profits and then kick them to the curb when they get old and start eating into the profits.

          The American system is entirely broken and all it takes for the fucktards who support it is some unemployment or scumbag insurance assessor cancelling their insurance when they need it to see just how wrong they were.

        3. tesmith47

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          THAT IS NOT TRUE, many people are now paying less, and the cost increase is because of the price gouging by the damn insurance companys!!!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

        "I could never figure out what American's have against universal healthcare."

        It's not all of us that feel that way, sadly.

        The answer to your question boils down to three choices:

        You can cover everyone

        You can cover every health problem

        You can keep costs low

        Now, pick any two of the above. You are not allowed by the laws of economics to pick all three, sorry. Unfortunately our quasi-president is selling the idea that people can pick all three, and much of the public is ignorant enough to believe him. Or you could call it a national case of wishful thinking.

        1. foxyshadis

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          "Now, pick any two of the above. You are not allowed by the laws of economics to pick all three, sorry. Unfortunately our quasi-president is selling the idea that people can pick all three, and much of the public is ignorant enough to believe him."

          Or maybe we can rearrange things to do less of some things and more of other, while becoming more efficient with better practices; it's not like any of those three choices are binary. Well, they are if you're an idiot.

          Pithy sayings lose some of their power against $2.5tn industries.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

            "Now, pick any two of the above. You are not allowed by the laws of economics to pick all three, sorry. Unfortunately our quasi-president is selling the idea that people can pick all three, and much of the public is ignorant enough to believe him."

            To get enough votes for the healthcare bill to pass they had to make compromises with the Republicans that effectively gutted the original design. The Republicans added many of the amendments at the behest of the Insurance companies and Doctors with the aim of sinking the bill eventually. Americans are greedy and self-centered with little regard for what happens to their neighbors so long as they are OK - what a pity the Mayflower didn't sink on the way over.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: make compromises with the Republicans

              As we're finally starting to be able to document, you progs never stop lying:

              http://hotair.com/archives/2014/11/12/gruber-video-2-no-really-american-voters-are-stupid/

              0bamacare passed with zero Republican votes. None in the House, none in the Senate. The only people that compromised were Democrats, whether it was the Cornhusker Kickback to buy Ben Nelson's vote or the New Louisiana Purchase to buy Mary Landrieu's. The Dems lied when they said you could keep your doctor, that costs would go down, and that it wouldn't be a tax. They lied that it originated in the House when it came from the Senate and it was "deemed" passed on a party line vote by the queen of botox Nancy "we have to pass it to find out what's in it" Pelosi.

              The impetus for all that corruption? Even the Progs in Taxachussettes were so pissed off about the Stalinist shenanigans from the DC swamp they couldn't vote for Ted "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy's hand picked successor.

        2. Terry Barnes

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          "The answer to your question boils down to three choices:

          You can cover everyone

          You can cover every health problem

          You can keep costs low

          Now, pick any two of the above. You are not allowed by the laws of economics to pick all three, sorry."

          Well - actually, you can have all three - or you can reach a point that encompasses all three things. We manage it in Europe - it requires the risk to be socialised. It doesn't need to be entirely state-run, private provision works, but you can't do all three if every interaction requires that a profit be made.

          Let's look at the UK. Cradle to grave care including emergency cover, pregnancy, childbirth - a seriously comprehensive package. It's entirely funded by taxation and costs £110Bn a year to run. There are 64 million people in the UK, so it costs £1700 a year, per citizen. £143 a month.

          Not everyone can afford to pay that though, so the wealthy pay more and the poor pay less and some people (children, pensioners) don't have to pay at all.

          In terms of your original three points - it covers everything, it covers everyone, and it does it for half the cost of the US system that achieves neither points one or two.

          1. auburnman

            Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

            'Keeping costs low' is relative. I would say £110Bn a year is a (financially) high cost but we gladly pay it to live in a society where the sick aren't left behind. It only looks like a low cost in comparison to the mind-boggling US system.

            One of these days someone over there will work out you could probably fly a patient to Canada, put them up in a hotel for a week and buy a minor operation from a private practice there cheaper than the US does it. Would be interesting if someone like Musk tried to build a business model around it.

            1. tesmith47

              Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

              ow much is one (worthless) F35 fighter? how about $300 million for the navy version.

              maybe it is a matter of priorities , help your citizens or extend your empire by attacking undeveloped countrys that cannot strike back effectively (lets attack russia or china macho guys!!!)

          2. Tom 13

            Re: We manage it in Europe

            No, you don't.

            That's why people from Europe come to the US to pay our "outrageous prices" for the care they want. Or at least they did before 0bamacare passed. And if we don't get 0bamacare repealed soon, you'll soon be finding out about the other unaccounted for costs of your system: we're producing the medical breakthroughs. You just parasitically feed off of them. Which is one of the unlisted reasons OUR healthcare costs are so high.

            1. Thorne

              Re: We manage it in Europe

              "That's why people from Europe come to the US to pay our "outrageous prices" for the care they want."

              Is that why Americans sneak over the border to sponge off Canada's universal healthcare system?

            2. Terry Barnes

              Re: We manage it in Europe

              " you'll soon be finding out about the other unaccounted for costs of your system: we're producing the medical breakthroughs. You just parasitically feed off of them"

              So, by that logic - the latest Apple toys are far more expensive in the US because that's where all the new product development happens?

              It's a global market. R&D happens wherever it happens, the costs are included in the prices of things that are then sold globally. It's crazy to suggest that huge swathes of US citizens have to go without healthcare (which is what the market approach delivers) so that you can do R&D. Just think about the logic of that for a second - "You poor guys have to have no healthcare so we can do research on making the healthcare you can't have, better".

              "That's why people from Europe come to the US to pay our "outrageous prices""

              Don't confuse the costs of specific treatments with the costs of coverage. In some cases a specific treatment is cheaper in the US because of simple scale issues. My son might need a type of surgery known as SDR at some point and currently that's done in Boston, because there's not enough need for it in the UK to set up such a specialism here. If that happens though - it will be paid for by the UK state heatlhcare scheme, the NHS. I'll point out that there are kids in the US who need this surgery who can't get it because their parents are refused cover for a child with a serious disability. So no, your argument is wrong.

              A supposedly Christian country that believes access to healthcare should be dependant on how wealthy you are must have lost its way somewhere along the line. By all means discriminate on how fancy your car is, how flash your house is, the clothes you wear and the holidays you take - but healthcare? That's batshit crazy.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: national case of wishful thinking.

          No, it wasn't a case of wishful thinking. It was, as is now documented, a case of the American people being lie to:

          http://hotair.com/archives/2014/11/12/gruber-video-2-no-really-american-voters-are-stupid/

          Of course, if you rely on the LSM, you won't be aware of this because just as was the case when Gruber was lying to Congress, they're censoring the story.

        4. tesmith47

          Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

          not true, the real culprit is the uncontrolled gouging by the damn insurance companys!!!!!!

      3. Palpy
        Flame

        Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

        What do "Americans have against universal healthcare"? Americans in general have a lot of ignorance and propaganda-think on display many areas, health care being one of them. The controllers of the health care debate are of course the upper management of Aetna, Kaiser, Wellpoint, et al. Their corporate profits are maximized when they charge as much as possible in premiums whilst paying as little as possible in health claims. Obviously, the insurers' interests are the opposite of those of patients seeking care. Which is why not-for-profit (read: nationalized) health care works quite well, and private-insurance healthcare doesn't work as well as packing sour baboon droppings in a festering head wound.

        BUT, inasmuch as nearly all Republican legislators and many Democrat ones are well and truly owned by corporations, "Obamacare" could only pass the House and Senate if it included fat, sticky wads of cash for the private-insurance corporates. What do "Americans have against universal healthcare"? The overmastering will of the oligarcharchs, of course.

        The same dyanmic may well drive the US to the bottom of the Intertubes access statistics -- it's more profitable to shaft consumers with high rates and skimp on capital investment than to build solid internet infrastructure. Someone mentioned the interstate highway system as a parallel -- that system was built in the 1950s. USA don't do that no more. It's SOCIALISM, don't you see. And we can have that here.

    3. tesmith47

      Re: Obama Plan for Internet?? - Nooooo!

      i love all of you anti Obama folks, you always get the story twisted. the reason the affordable care act is crippled is because the REPUBLICANS did everything in their power to screw it up as much as possible. Even with that, my relatives in W. Virginia, for the first time in their lives have some sort of health care.

      I am not a Democrat and i think the Dems are bunch of whimps, they should of rammed the original single payer plan through, and screw bi-partisian crap!!!

      The dems deserve a sound whipping for letting the republicans do that.

  5. Mikel

    Fiber to the press release

    Now no fiber to the press release.

    AT&T really dodged a bullet here by not ever putting their money where their mouth was. Unless they never intended to. /s

    Roll on Google Fiber! Light that pipe. Go rainbow bunny, go!

  6. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Pint

    The New Jersey Standard

    "What's faster? 1Gbps or the speed at which toys were just thrown out of a pram?"

    Actually I used to live in New Jersey near the ATT Headquarters, El Reg. I got this one.

    The shortest interval known to World+Dog in New Jersey is the time between the light turning green and the asshole behind you blowing his horn and making one finger hand signals. Or her horn, you have to check the manicure.

    1. earl grey
      Trollface

      Re: The New Jersey Standard

      you used to have to check the manicure.

  7. Bobcat4424

    Big Deal

    So AT&T is putting their fiber construction in ice. Sorry about that, but that's where it belongs. AT&T is one of the worst ISP's and its DSL has long been a rip-off. The reason is that it is not a big deal is that the country is overbuilt with fiber. Existing fiber has increased its capability 1000-fold since it was installed. AT&T just wants to play games to drive competitors out of business.

    But the fact remains: The United States has one of the slowest internets in the world! It might as well be dial-up compared to countries like South Korea or Japan. Even countries like Kenya have much faster internet --- and much cheaper as well. If the ISP's can drain more money out of the consumer by charging internet companies for "premium" speeds, they will. Otherwise they might actually have to be competitive by providing faster better service and speeds.

    1. earl grey
      Facepalm

      Re: Big Deal

      Give a moment until some primary city dweller arsehole comes along to whinge about how those countries are so much smaller and everything is closer together and blah blah blah....excuse about how hard it is to run fibre out the middle of flopsweat, usa than it is to wire up a big city (and then turn around and ask the arse why it is that every big city in the usa is NOT fibred up out the buttocks....)

      1. Tom 13

        Re: why it is that every big city in the usa is NOT fibred up

        That's easy. City pols cost a hell of a lot less to buy than national ones. So the bought pols grant the big ISP their requested local monopoly. Which is exactly why nationalized plans won't work either.

      2. tesmith47

        Re: Big Deal

        i live in washington d.c. and ATT promised me fios back in 1990s, said they will send me a posst card wen it is ready HA, still waiting

  8. Nuno trancoso

    Guess it's a "other side of the pond" thing. Back here nobody does it till somebody does it. And somebody does it to steal market share from, erhmmm, other somebody.

    Thus, when 56k was the norm, everyone was providing 56k and nobody cared about anything else. Then somebody did cable and everyone was rushing to do cable. Then ADSL. Now fiber.

    Guess that a "universal" roll out on a big place like the USA is harder to achieve, but smaller local ones might just be within reach for the likes of Google, and that's enough to give a nice one finger salute to the likes of AT&T.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Then somebody did cable

      You've forgotten one very, very important piece of history from that time:

      The Telecos asked for relief from the excess burden modems were putting on the PSTN. With the ITU having finalized the 56K protocol, Congress capped modem speeds at that specification.

      We'll never know what would have happened if modem speeds in the US had not been artificially limited by law. Which is exactly what will happen if Congress attempts to codify Net Neutrality. Yes, the current law is out of whack because:

      - the ISP can change the terms of contract at will and don't specify the level of service that will actually be delivered.

      - local governments can effectively grant monopolies to one vendor.

      - there's a potential built in bias when the ISP is also a content vendor.

      So fix those sprcific problems. But don't try to take control of the competitive process.

  9. DaddyHoggy

    DIY?

    Well, this is what one UK village decided to do about terrible broadband connections - they cut out all the ISPs, the infrastructure owners and did it themselves...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21442348

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DIY?

      Believe it or not, but doing your own city wide ISP is actually illegal in some US states, so fat chance that will happen....

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: DIY?

      One town in southern Oregon did build their own fiber... Ashland. It's now dark. Not because it was illegal but the company that ran it went bust.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google fiber is rolling out slowly across the US. The AT&T fiber would be in response to that, simply protecting their business -- and it would have nothing to do with FCC rules or not. Comcast, AT&T and the others have to match what can be provided by Google wether they like it or not, or they will be out of business in 5 years from now.

    Any suggestions otherwise is just play for the gallery.

    1. tesmith47

      i hope you are right,i pray for a painful and gory death for all ATT executives executives!!!!

  11. PJP

    The sooner ISPs understand that the ONLY business they are in is that of shuffling packets from A to B as fast and securely as possible, the better off we all will be.

    Their current attitude can be compared to a security guard transporting gold bars insisting that he gets a cut because ... well ... just because ... and it would be a pity if something nasty were to happen to this shipment.

    1. Terry Barnes

      "The sooner ISPs understand that the ONLY business they are in is that of shuffling packets from A to B as fast and securely as possible, the better off we all will be"

      That's fine, that model can work, but it's not what investors understood to be the case and it's not the model that banks lent capital against for network rollout.

      If the value add stuff is removed from what ISPs can do then one of two things will happen;

      -The price of that 'shuffling packets' service will rise - banks and investors still want paying back

      -Businesses collapse, mergers, takeovers - leading to fewer players. Again, prices will rise.

      You might end up achieving your neutrality goal but at a higher price than if there had been no intervention.

      I'm sure I'll be downvoted straight to hell, but you can't pretend Internet access exists in a vacuum untouched by economics, especially if the provision of those services is by private enterprise.

    2. tempemeaty

      Kind of like the old Italian Mafia.

      Sorta like AT&T, Comcast (etc) saying, "Aye you, pay me extra money for safe delivery and I'll see to it I don't lose some of it along the way or break your knees...capiche?"

  12. chris lively

    I for one look forward to seeing companies like google beat the crap out of the current ISPs in the marketplace.

    Of course, give google about 10 years and they'll be pulling the same crap as AT&T.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I for one look forward to seeing companies like google beat the crap out of the current ISPs in the marketplace."

      Hmm. I share the sentiment but I worry about what it means in practice.

      Competition will come where it's cheapest to provide service - so most dwellings per km of fibre, or however you measure it. Big cities. They'll price low, win lots of customers, beat up the incumbents, hurrah!

      The trouble with that is that the incumbents use the cheap, high-density service areas to subsidise the expensive, low-density rural areas - the areas where the competition don't and won't go. The big city competition has removed the subsidy and now those rural areas will maybe see costs rise or the halting of any new kit being rolled out in their direction - the incumbent is running a business, they're going to focus on fighting the competition who are stealing their most profitable customers, not the rural dweller who has no choice but to pay or go without.

      Competition drives innovation and squeezes profits - which is great - but an unintended consequence is that it can often just screw the guys who already get the shittiest deal. It needs regulation to avoid making things better for a few people at the expense of making them worse for a lot of people.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is coming to my town

    Here in NC our one-party state, having made disenfranchised about half the population through gerrymandering, enacted a law making new deployments of publicly-owned broadband illegal. But the good news is that Google and its gb/s service is coming to town -- my town specifically. When that happens both AT&T and Time Warner will cease to be relevant except as historic curiosities.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google is coming to my town

      "Here in NC our one-party state, having made disenfranchised about half the population through gerrymandering, enacted a law making new deployments of publicly-owned broadband illegal. "

      Are you referring to the 100+ years of one party rule and the outrageous gerrymandering that went on throughout that period? Or have you conveniently decided to ignore that little piece of history for more recent history?

      Talk about throwing toys from the pram. Typically democratic of you. ;-)

      The "new deployments" aren't illegal. Granted there are some high hurdles and yes "lobbyists" were involved but so what else is new? The big telcos don't care which party, just how much to write the check for.

      This grandstanding by the major carriers and abuse of the consumers is going to eventually reach a level where the consumers will push back. And the carriers will regret the results.

      1. unitron

        Re: Google is coming to my town

        Actually he or she is talking about how once Wilson, NC, built their own municipal cable system because they couldn't get what they wanted from the usual suspects, the law was changed to prevent anyone else in NC from doing the same thing.

      2. Ben Trabetere

        Re: Google is coming to my town

        ""Here in NC our one-party state, having made disenfranchised about half the population through gerrymandering, enacted a law making new deployments of publicly-owned broadband illegal. "

        Are you referring to the 100+ years of one party rule and the outrageous gerrymandering that went on throughout that period? Or have you conveniently decided to ignore that little piece of history for more recent history?

        Talk about throwing toys from the pram. Typically democratic of you. ;-)"

        You have a superficial understanding of the political system in the Deep South. There never has been a strong two-party system in the Deep South - it's always been ruled by the same party, the only thing that has changed is the name. Jacksonian Democrats lead to the Southern Democrats and Solid South, which lead to the States' Rights Democatic Party (aka, Dixiecrats). Which lead to Republicans and the Tea Party.

        Net Neutrality is as much a Bad Thing for the Southern Republicans as it would have been for the Jacksonian Democrats - it's the workings of elitist city-types trying to tell us what to do. I live in Mississippi, and I have pressed my representatives to support Net Neutrality. My senators and my congresscritter are both opposed to any form of Net Neutrality; the one senator considers the common carrier regulations to be "outdated" (which is odd, seeing as how Mississippi was one of the biggest benefactors of that regulation) and questions whether it is in the "consumers' best interests," and my congresscritter is a Grover Norquist acolyte who thinks government regulations are the reason for the high price and low quality of internet service in his district.

  14. Mikel

    Poor Leawood Kansas

    Leawood was going to get Google fiber, then it wasn't, then it was going to get AT&T fiber, now it isn't. Maybe Verizon should come tease them with their FiOS as well, then pull it away.

    http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article3540109.html

  15. lady grey
    Flame

    Important to remember

    It's important to remember that Google is only wiring up certain areas where they get enough subscribers and that ATT is only wiring up places (like Austin) to be directly in competition to Google and to show "they can do it, too". It has nothing to do with actually going out and running fibre to all their customers to actually improve their service. They certainly don't give shite about that.

  16. Medixstiff

    Google must be laughing right about now, wait until Google Fiber makes more inroads and AT&T realise they are getting left behind even more, then we'll see who has the deepest pockets to buy some politicians with.

  17. -tim
    Meh

    If AT&T doesn't have any competition, why try?

    The rumor mill out of Kanas City say there are problems. They had been running 4 different types of fiber to the home as experiments. The decision was made to roll out all the new stuff as some version of PON and that isn't working to specs. A friend pointed a 10 gig switch to the bit of glass and saw some properly formed packets so I'm guessing at least some of the stuff is running 10G to the CPE/ONT or whatever the "modem" is called.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more bandwidth you want

    The less bandwidth you actually get

    My universal Law of broadband

  19. Gary Bickford

    OK, let's roll in the competitors!

    Unless there are rent-seeking laws in place to prevent it, this is a great opportunity for competitors to come in to those areas and offer a better service. Let the games/competition begin!

    Unfortunately, it's likely that the "unless" is the case - ATT may own the poles that the competitor would have to string their wires on. There are rules to require them to rent space on the poles, but ATT could use various pseudo-technical arguments to delay that for years.

  20. phil dude
    Joke

    kittens....

    when I heard the announcement on the NPR stream yesterday, I had an image of this guy with a box of kittens tied to a brick holding them over a bridge, saying:

    "If you don't let us continuing to rip-off the public, the kittens get it..."

    You can't make this stuff up...(obviously I did, I meant the blatant attempt at commercial blackmail!)

    P.

  21. Aedile

    OMG! Please don't stop what you weren't doing anyway!

    For a more comprehensive review of their BS: https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutrality/articles/20141112/07323529118/att-pouts-freezes-mostly-bogus-fiber-to-press-release-deployments-net-neutrality-bluff.shtml

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Buh-bye AT&T

    If AT&T does not wish to invest in faster speeds, I'm sure others will be only too happy to. Buh-bye!

  23. DocJD

    Can anyone clarify this

    As far as I know, neither AT&T nor Google Fiber is in my area, so I have no dog in the fight most of you are waging. However, I have two questions, neither one related to Obamacare or politics.

    1) I read somewhere that Google Fiber will not carry voice communications specifically to avoid being regulated as a phone company would. Is this true?

    2) If they want to regulate ISPs as public utilities, well the water company charges you by how much water you use and the power company charges you by how much electricity you use. So, if the ISPs are regulated by Net Neutrality, would they then charge you by the Megabyte?

  24. tesmith47

    I live in Washington D.C. the capital of america, but i live in the poor part of town.

    ATT has promised fiber to me for almost 20 years,, i talked with a rep at a trade show lately and he told me they have no intentions to provide fiber to my section of town.

    Att is a bunch of lying scurvy rat liars, they will not do anything that the public needs because they are sucking up enough money just as they are.

    i hope all of the capitalist rats like them rot in hell, while they are ripped apart by rabid rats tied to their faces and crotches!!!!!

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