AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson implied that it could be two or three years before AT&T starts investing again in fiber optic network rollouts while it waits for net neutrality rules to be settled.
- Earlier in the week, he said the Obama proposals to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would cause AT&T to “pause” its planned rollouts so it could gain clarity on what actions might occur. Today’s comments went further, putting a timeline of two to three years on the delay.
- Stephenson noted that the FCC has for 20 years policed ISPs without the kind of oversight Obama wants. Title II would take carriers back to a time when telephones were regulated in the 1930s, well before the Internet was conceived, he said.
There is undoubtedly a lot of rhetoric being thrown about and positioning going on as the battle lines are being drawn. While the position of the operators is fairly clear, the same cannot be said of all.
As could be expected, operators have come out in full force against Title II regulation. However, Google in particular seems to have reversed gears of late and is conspicuously going the other way. Back in 2010 Goggle joined forces with Verizon to issue a joint statement against implementation Net Neutrality on wireless networks. Fast forward to 2014 and Google’s Take Action campaign “We stand together to support a #freeandopen Internet” tells a very different story. Google’s headlines read like this:
- Our values remain the same: The Internet should be competitive and open.
- The Internet was designed to empower people.
- We believe that consumers should continue to enjoy open on-ramps to the Internet.
Funny I was under the impression that the Internet had its origins the Department of Defense funded ARPANET project… at least that’s what we taught back when I was at university. Google is rather unique in that it is a company that has its hands (and money) right across the Internet value chain. From Android and the handset/app space, through Google fiber to content and advertising. Google truly is the Internet Company. If Google has decided to switch sides in the Net Neutrality debate, maybe the operators should be concerned.
But as usual, nothing will be happening at Internet speed as the FCC has decided to regroup after Obama’s statements.
“It has become plain that there is more work to do,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart added via email that “open Internet rules will not be on the December agenda, [which] means rules would not be finalized until 2015.”