AT&T halt fiber expansion until net neutrality debate is settled

AT&T is pausing plans to bring high-speed fiber networks to 100 cities in the United States until the rules of net neutrality are set. At a conference on Wednesday, AT&T CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson told investors the US carrier is going to wait and see how the net neutrality battle ends — namely, how Internet service providers (ISPs) will be required to regulate web traffic — before carrying on with fiber broadband installation for consumers.

After President Obama called on the FCC to pass strong net neutrality rules, Chairman Tom Wheeler reportedly backed away from the statements, saying he favored a more “nuanced” solution. But regardless of where the debate stands, AT&T says it won’t budge on a new project: at a conference today, CEO Randall Stephenson said AT&T would stop investing in a plan to bring high-speed fiber connections to 100 US cities until the FCC determines a path for internet regulation. “We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,” Stephenson said, according to a report from Reuters. AT&T brought the service to Austin last year, beating Google, and said they were exploring more investments in major metro areas. But as of April, negotiations with the cities were still in early stages.

By Michio Hasai

+Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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