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AT&T Networking The Internet

AT&T Building Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists (techdirt.com) 91

An anonymous reader writes: An article at TechDirt points out that AT&T's big fiber deployment project isn't yet adding up to much. They posted a press release last week saying how they've launched fiber internet in Los Angeles and West Palm Beach, and how they also plan to bring it to 38 other metro areas. But TechDirt notes a few parts they left out: "Nowhere does the company state when these connections will be delivered. Similarly nowhere does the company make clear that it's targeting mostly high-end housing developments where fiber is already in the ground, making costs negligible (the only way you could technically accomplish a deployment of this kind and magically have your CAPEX consistently drop). And while AT&T claims these improvements will reach 14 million residential and commercial locations, AT&T gives no timeline for this accomplishment. That means it could cherry pick a few hundred thousand University condos and housing developments per year and be wrapping up this not-so-epic fiber deployment by 2040 or so. "
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AT&T Building Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists

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  • Headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @09:59AM (#51099867)

    "Building Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists "

    Thats why thyre building it, becausr it doesn't exist (yet)

    Or did I miss something?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is all part of the 'new journalism' of 'weaving a story from the facts', aka learning exactly how to compromise one's integrity dollar-for-dollar and/or word-for-word.

    • Re:Headline (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday December 11, 2015 @10:36AM (#51100031) Homepage Journal
      The story is basically about how they're talking up their massive Fiber network, but have actually been cutting back on expansion for several years. It's like when politicians name bills for the opposite thing they're doing. Like the Clean Air Act that allowed more industrial pollution into the air.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The telcos have have over $2 billion from our tax money to build these new networks. They're not doing it, or are doing it so slow, they'll take centuries to complete.

      It's time they returned our money. Anyone else would be persecuted for not delivering after being paid. Perhaps it's time for CEOs and the boards to do some hard-time.

      • Re:Headline (Score:4, Insightful)

        by boristdog ( 133725 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @12:29PM (#51100583)

        Kind of like the $9 billion they took in the 00's to provide rural broadband to the country.

        They just pocketed it and did basically nothing.

        • Kind of like the $9 billion they took in the 00's to provide rural broadband to the country.

          They just pocketed it and did basically nothing.

          Almost certainly *exactly* like that. They're probably doing it to pick up money they've gotten from the public through Congress, most likely in the term of tax breaks. It turns out that when you call something a "tax cut," the public usually doesn't notice when Congress gives a company or industry a couple of billion dollars from the public's taxes.

    • Yeah the part where the article mentions that AT&T *ISN'T* building a network but says it is. Reading is fundamental moron.
    • Re:Headline (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @01:36PM (#51101025) Homepage

      The press and public aren't the only ones being conned. AT&T has consistently used its phantom fiber deployment as a carrot on a stick with regulators, at one point threatening to stop making these barely-there investments unless regulators walked back net neutrality. AT&T backed off the claim when the FCC asked for hard data, but this kind of telecom theater works exceptionally well in state legislatures. Last week AT&T claimed net neutrality prevented them from innovating, and this week they're portraying themselves as the innovator of the century (even though the only actual innovation here is in misleading PR).

      See, they're not building very much, but they're using it to claim how they'd be forced to stop spending money on improving their infrastructure if those pesky regulators made them follow any rules.

      It's more like they're picking the low hanging fruit along the side of a road, but are claiming to be building orchards and highways.

      They're dinosaurs sitting on a business model by which they keep charging more money for the same thing, while ultimately NOT investing in new infrastructure and instead acting like they deserve money for doing nothing.

      What you're missing is they're not really building it. They're adding a small amount of capacity in places where it is super easy and to do it because someone already built the infrastructure, and then pretending they're some kind of cutting edge innovators of the network of the future.

      So, just how much of the money they've collected and said it's for improving infrastructure has actually been used to that end, and how much has just been skimmed off as profits to ensure the stock stays high and executive bonuses keep going up?

      When they don't invest in real infrastructure and adding new capacity, it's just a shell game to pretend they're not just leaving the existing stuff to rot.

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        I think you've missed the even-more-sinister plot afoot. By announcing their intent to build a network, they're sowing confusion among under-served communities that have been considering building their own networks. The cities that have already built their own municipal networks have been extremely happy with them; they cost far less than a private network, and service is much more responsive than with the big network providers. The experiences are so good that more and more cities are considering them.

    • Telecoms are investing in wireless networks over fiber because when the next generation of wireless mobile internet (5G) comes, it will move data faster at speeds competitive with land-based cable/DSL/Fiber, so selling those land-based internet services will get harder. Consider that 4G LTE can already move data fast enough to accommodate basic internet use (e.g. web browsing, email, basic streaming) and 5G will be faster without laying and maintaining expensive cables all over the planet. For rural areas i

  • it could cherry pick a few hundred thousand University condos and housing developments per year and be wrapping up this not-so-epic fiber deployment by 2040 or so.

    If this is the first time you've stopped to consider ma bell as a conglomerate that does not operate in the greater common good, then i suppose 2016 is going to be a rough year. its not just AT&T thats at fault, but the schizophrenic common carrier response by internet providers in general. Fibre is all well and good, but the last mile into everyones home is still going to have to be a cable connection for higher-than-dsl speed, and cable companies aren't just going to give it to you. The other alter

    • Fibre is all well and good, but the last mile into everyones home is still going to have to be a cable connection for higher-than-dsl speed

      My Verizon FIOS [verizon.com] service begs to differ. So do the lucky folks with Google Fiber [google.com]. In fact, when I used to have DSL my 10+ meg connection was on par with the local cable provider's speeds -- without the terrible latency at peak times that my cable-subscribed neighbors experienced.

      Your statements might be colored by a poor experience with DSL. Some installations are better than others -- it seems to be a neighborhood-by-neighborhood issue. It's obvious you've never had fiber of any type, and you don't ev

    • by tippen ( 704534 )

      l. Fibre is all well and good, but the last mile into everyones home is still going to have to be a cable connection for higher-than-dsl speed, and cable companies aren't just going to give it to you. The other alternative, to spread out into existing markets, means asking homeowners and landlords to undertake expensive retrofits for cat6 and fibre drops.

      That may be true on average, but I've got fiber to my house and I get 940 Mbps+ up and down from AT&T GigaPower for the last year.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @10:04AM (#51099883)

    I've seen quite a bit of Fiber To The Press Release, but here in the RTP area of North Carolina, they're digging like crazy. Our decidedly-not-upscale neighborhood has already received the doorknob hang-tabs about excavation, and the Miss Utility painters have been around.

    Probably helps that Google Fiber has named us as part of their next round of deployments, although they seem to have put things on hold until the new year.

    I'm unimpressed with AT&T's advertising, monitoring and capping policies, but they're already having a positive effect -- last time I threatened to drop TWC, they bumped me to 50/5, which is now 200/20, all at less than $40/month. Competition rocks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rob Lister ( 4174831 )
      Verizon laid fiber in my neighborhood about two years ago. I was impressed with the technology to mole cable between two holes fifty feet apart. The cable company suddenly doubled their speed to remain competitive. I didn't switch because in the long run, the cable company is cheaper.

      It is easy to understand why the cost of running that fiber in an existing neighborhood makes the margins pretty slim. They have to promise the world to get their mergers and acquisitions. Seems they only have to delive
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      ... they bumped me to 50/5, which is now 200/20, all at less than $40/month. Competition rocks.

      For anyone who wants some perspective on internet pricing in other parts of the US. I'm in Western New York (Buffalo), paying the same company, Time Warner, $65 a month for 25/10 (burst) with the only form of competition being Verizon ADSL which although it is in my area, it is not actually available where I live, nor is it adequate for my needs. My office was paying about $150 a month for 35/10 (burst) and one static IP in a slightly more rural area until we switched to nearly $400 month for 10/10 (dedicat

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        I've had AT&T U-verse, Verizon FIOS, Comcast and TWC cable.

        Comcast has always sucked, it's great when it works but is so flaky you can't even rely on it for home use, at least where I was. I think a finch landing on the cable would knock it out.

        TWC was better, but when it rained, well, see Comcast's finch report.

        U-verse in their FTTH (fiber all the way to the box on mounted to my house) was initially awesome in the days of DSL, but was so oversubscribed in my area after a few years that you could not

  • FttPR (Score:5, Funny)

    by matthaak ( 707485 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @10:08AM (#51099903) Homepage Journal
    Yes, this technology is called Fiber-to-the-Press-Release
  • They just suddenly started drilling under people's driveways (appeared to accidentally cut through an electrical line across my street). I think after a week of construction they actually notified people by putting a flyer on their front door knobs. . .

    Another characteristic of my neighborhood is that it seems to be a logical location to be the next batch of Google fiberhood sign-up areas. . .

    Looks like ATT is moving at "chicken with head cut-off" speed these days. . . (at least from my perspective)
  • by AmazinglySmooth ( 1668735 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @10:17AM (#51099947)
    So, what should we do about it?
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      It's not about what should be done, it's about calling companies out on drumming up interest out of words that do not necessarily promise anything.

      This is actually refreshing to see someone call out a company for making nice sounding announcements devoid of any meaningful way to evaluate their actual performance against their press release promises. It's something almost every company does and has done for a long time. Particularly as lazy journalism has allowed corporate press releases to be little more

  • Screw AT&T (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They yanked my chain for 7 years teasing us with UVerse. It finally came and was teh same shitty 3.0/.384 speeds that their DSL was. Charter finally ran cables down my street and I got hooked up this last weekend. Went from 3 down to 66 down. And dropped $5/month (after the initial signup deal expires!) from my bill.

    AT&T is a shit company that can't die fast enough.

    • They keep trying to get me to upgrade and they don't even have the equipment installed to serve my street. We tried a couple of years ago and it took 3 techs coming out to our house to figure out that that was the problem.
  • That's all... nothing else to see here...

  • I live near one of the cities in question. Last year, our local utilities company started a search for a fiber internet provider for the municipality. They decided they didn't want to be the provider but we needed to have one. Right now the major internet suppliers are AT&T and Comcast. The timing of this announcement makes me think they realized they were going to be driven out of town by another company pretty soon. I wonder how many other cities on the list are doing the same.
    • But that does mean, at least for my town, they have to roll out a solution prior to our utilities company finishing its process.
  • A couple of weeks ago a guy from AT&T knocked on my door and said they just installed fiber in my backyard. So WTF?
    • Re:They did for me. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Guyle ( 79593 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @12:39PM (#51100655) Homepage

      A guy from AT&T knocked on my door and said the same thing. "Really? Sweet! I've been waiting for ages." I took him into my backyard and said "Show me where." I don't have an alley and everything is aerial, so for them to bury fiber in the backyard would be a pain in the ass and waaaaay more expensive than just hanging it on the poles. He looked around on the ground for peds anyway, didn't see any, then stared up at the poles with a confused look on his face. "See that? *points* That's a 50 pair copper cable running down those poles serving my street and the street over there *waves*. That terminal there *points* feeds the copper drops going to those four *points* houses. The cable above that *points* is Charter's cable, and then I really hope you know that those cables up top *waves* are power lines. So tell me.. where's your fiber?"

      He stood silent for a few seconds and said "I apologize for disturbing you sir" and walked off.

      From my days as a premise tech for Uverse I'm 99% certain he was a contractor paid to sell door to door. They like to bend the "truth" that fiber does, indeed, serve a DSLAM somewhere in your neighborhood so therefore you have fiber service. However, I'm not paying AT&T's prices for bonded pair VDSL on old aerial cable to get 45 megs with bandwidth caps when I can get 60 megs from Charter with no bandwidth caps for less. If and/or when AT&T actually does run fiber down my poles, I'm pretty sure I'll notice, and I'll decide if the cost is worth the megabits and limitations then.

      • They tried that with me about two years ago.

        My response? Sweet, what kind of speeds are you offering now?

        We offer up to 20Mbps dow..

        At that point I just quickly closed the door and walked away.

      • Centurylink pulls the same crap here.

  • They are Building in chicagoland.

    Seen a lot of trucks and new cables being ran. I hope they move me from copper (under ground) to fiber. In a newer area then some of the non under ground area they are building in. Just down the road.

  • Promises without a timeline is rhetoric only. These guys act like a married man that keeps promising his wife that he'll fix a squeak in the floor, then steps around it to make sure he doesn't hear it again.
  • AT&T send me a letter this week asking me to join their high speed gigabit network. No. I don't care for gigabit speeds when you can't even keep the service running for longer than a week. And when it does break your entire debugging process is to turn the modem on and off and then send a tech (all within an hour long phone call somehow). Then the techs whole debugging process is more or less the same and then after than pretending to do stuff until the next call (this process costs you an entire da
  • They "ran" fiber into my "neighborhood". So what really happened was, they put in a hub near Lee university. Then came around "selling" the residents of the area on how great the service is. /sarc/ For only $70 a month + installation fees, (re: running the actual fiber from the hub to my house via telephone poles" you get a whopping 18MB down with an amazing 4MB up connection! What a deal! /sarc/. The kid who came by trying to sell me the service just couldn't understand the concept that my cable connection
  • I don't think they exist.

"Who cares if it doesn't do anything? It was made with our new Triple-Iso-Bifurcated-Krypton-Gate-MOS process ..."

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