FCC Clashes with AT&T Over Fiber Optic Delay

A decision by AT&T to put the brakes on a planned expansion of fiber optic service to 100 cities has drawn the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The federal agency sent a letter to the countryEUs second-largest wireless carrier asking for details regarding comments made by Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson last week that the company would EUpauseEU its investment in fiber optic service pending a decision by the FCC on how the Internet would be regulated in the future.

AT&T had announced in April that it planned to bring its fiber optic Internet service, with speeds of up to one gigabit per second, to more communities following GoogleEUs foray into ultra-high-speed Internet service.

Halting Investment

The company had already promised to expand its fiber optic service to 2 million DirectTV customers in exchange for FCCEUs blessing on its plans to acquire DirecTV.

Stephenson made the comments during a conference call with investors, saying that AT&T would not be expanding its fiber service beyond what it had already agreed to with the government. EUWe canEUt go out and just invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities other than these two million not knowing under what rules that investment will be governed,EU Stephenson said. EUAnd so we have to pause and we have to just put a stop on those kinds of investments that we are doing today.EU

The CEO's statements prompted the FCC to send a letter on Friday, requesting that AT&T provide it with data on how many households had been included in its fiber optic expansion plans before limiting the deployments to its 2 million DirecTV commitments. The FCC has also requested all the documents related to the companyEUs decision to limit deployment to the DirecTV households. The agency has given AT&T until November 21...

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