The fallout from President Barack Obama’s push to reclassify internet access as a public utility was immediate, and no one reacted faster the nation’s telecom giants. Most issued remarks that characterized the move as a huge mistake, but AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson went one better, he announced that the company was throwing the brakes on its fiber network rollout because it didn’t make sense to sink a ton of money a network infrastructure when no one knew “under what rules those investments will be governed.”
AT&T announced earlier this week that it would “pause” the rollout of fiber Internet connections to dozens of cities, due to uncertainty in the market caused by potentially stiff net neutrality rules that may be put into place. The president recently caused a ruckus in the debate by calling for reclassification of broadband under Title II. The news from AT&T that it would halt the rollout of new fiber connections over the current open Internet scrap is a bright example of self-facing prophesies coming true. Surprise, a corporate narrative pushed by a corporation came true after the same corporation made the prophecy about itself. You can almost believe it. Enter the FCC, which can’t quite. In a letter sent to AT&T today, the Federal Communications Commission probed the telecom firm about just what had changed — what in the economics had gone awry?