16 November 2014

When AT&T Has Even the FCC Calling Bullsh%$………

You know how it goes.

The FCC is increasingly aware of massive public opposition to the broadband monopolists attempts to rape the consumers and internet businesses, what John Oliver rightly called "Cable company F%$#ery", and so the former cable company lobbyist who is currently running the FCC is making noises about making it a touch more difficult for the last mile providers.

In response to this, AT&T tries blackmail, suggesting that any pro-consumer and pro-competition regulation will result in their curtailing their plans for a significant expansion of their fiber build-out.

The FCC called bullsh%$ on AT&T's claims, and have demanded to see their detailed plans for expansion of broadband capability:
Two days after AT&T claimed it has to "pause" a 100-city fiber build because of uncertainty over network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission today asked the company to finally detail its vague plans for fiber construction.

Despite making all sorts of bold promises about bringing fiber to customers and claiming its fiber construction is contingent on the government giving it what it wants, AT&T has never detailed its exact fiber plans. For one thing, AT&T never promised to build in all of the 100 cities and towns it named as potential fiber spots. The company would only build in cities and towns where local leaders gave AT&T whatever it wanted. In all likelihood, only a small portion of the 100 municipalities were likely to get fiber, and nobody knows which ones.


Today, the FCC challenged AT&T to finally reveal some facts about its fiber plans in a letter to AT&T Senior VP Robert Quinn. Jamillia Ferris, a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer who joined the FCC to review the AT&T/DirecTV merger, began the letter by describing Stephenson's statement that "the Company would limit its fiber deployment to the '2 million additional homes' that are 'commitments to the DirecTV announcement' and that any other fiber deployment would depend on the outcome of the Commission’s Open Internet Proceeding." Ferris then asked Quinn for:

(a) Data regarding the Company’s current plans for fiber deployment, specifically: (1) the current number of households to which fiber is deployed and the breakdown by technology (i.e., FTTP [fiber-to-the-premises] or FTTN [fiber-to-the-node]) and geographic area of deployment; (2) the total number of households to which the Company planned to deploy fiber prior to the Company’s decision to limit deployment to the 2 million households and the breakdown by technology and geographic area of deployment; and (3) the total number of households to which the Company currently plans to deploy fiber, including the 2 million households, and the breakdown by technology and geographic area of deployment;

(b) A description of (1) whether the AT&T FTTP Investment Model demonstrates that fiber deployment is now unprofitable; and (2) whether the fiber to the 2 million homes following acquisition of DirecTV would be unprofitable; and

(c) All documents relating to the Company’s decision to limit AT&T’s deployment of fiber to 2 million homes following the acquisition of DirecTV.
Of course, AT&T never intended to put all that fiber in the ground, but it is nice that the FCC is saying that the emperor has not clothes.

This is all very simple, really: 
  • Businesses are in the business of making money.
  • When a business has a strangle hold on a market, like the Telcos and Cable companies do, the most profitable actions that they can take are those taken to reinforce their monopoly statusand those taken to extract monopoly enforced rents.
  • Thus businesses have no incentive to improve services.
  • Cable company f%$#ery.  QED.
These companies are the most loathed companies in America for a reason.

To quote Lily Tomlin, "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."


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