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AT&T to halt investment in fiber optic lines because of net neutrality

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AT&T Inc will stop investing in new high-speed Internet connections in 100 U.S. cities until regulators decide whether to enact tough “net neutrality” rules proposed by President Obama, Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said on Wednesday.

The investment pause is the most dramatic action yet by a telecommunications or cable company after Obama on Monday urged the Federal Communications Commission to regulate Internet service providers more like public utilities.

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At the same time, AT&T had been spending heavily acquisitions and had cut its capital spending estimate for 2015.

Companies and industry groups have already protested Obama’s proposal, saying it would stifle growth and investment.

“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 at an analyst conference.

In April, AT&T said it would deploy its high-speed fiber network in 100 cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

A primary goal for the FCC in recent years has been to ensure quality Internet access across the country, especially in rural communities.

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AT&T pushed back against Obama’s comments on Monday and said it would take the government to court if the FCC follows through on his request.

The company, which is buying DirecTV for $48.5 billion, said on Friday that it would also pay $1.7 billion to acquire Mexican wireless operator Iusacell. It trimmed its 2015 capital spending outlook to $18 billion from $21 billion. [ID:nL1N0SX2RQ]

At the same conference on Wednesday, Verizon Communications Inc Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo struck a somewhat lighter tone.

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“I think the independent agency of the FCC will make the right decision,” Shammo said.

He said the FCC could restrict “paid prioritization” deals, where content companies pay for faster downloads of some websites or applications, without pursuing utility-style regulations under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

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“We don’t need to bring Title II into this,” he said.

(Reporting by Marina Lopes, Editing by Franklin Paul and Lisa Von Ahn)


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Here’s why a new rule could result in Trump losing his diploma from Wharton

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In 2019, a college admissions scandal rocked the country. Thus far it has resulted in 53 people being charged with cheating the system, paying for people to take standardized tests and paying their way into schools. Over the 7-year investigation, the FBI uncovered everyone from celebrities to wealthy families for conspiracy to commit felony mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

In response to the scandal, the University of Pennsylvania announced that would revoke the degree of any graduate found to have given false information in an admission application, cheated on an exam or tempered with their records, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis still won’t reveal true COID-19 data — so things are probably much worse

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Florida reached 213,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to encourage the state to reopen at all costs.

According to CNN's Randi Kaye, the numbers spell "trouble" for the state as it's GOP leaders are opting for a simplistic approach to reopening.

Just in the last 24 hours, they have had more than 1,600 people hospitalized for COVID," she cited. "In the last two weeks, the hospitalization haves gone up 90 percent. The ICU bed demand has gone up 86 percent, and the ventilator usage has gone up 127 percent. The governor is saying he's sending 100 nurses and 47 beds to Jackson Health because they need it so much. But at last check, we've noted that about 56 hospitals around the state have run out of ICU beds, which means they have no space for anyone who needs an ICU bed. This is really critical for Miami-Dade because they make up the 24 percent of the cases throughout the state, so they really need those hospital beds."

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Joe Shapiro — the man who took Trump’s SATs for him

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The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is being thrust into the spotlight after it was alleged that President Donald Trump was admitted after his sister did his homework for him and a friend named Joe Shapiro took his SATs.

In a new tell-all book by the president's niece, Mary Trump, it was revealed that the Penn grad wasn't quite the "genius" he has claimed to be. He announced he was "first in his class at Wharton," though he never was admitted to the prestigious MBA program at the school and he was never listed on the dean's list the year he graduated, the Penn student newspaper reported in 2017.

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