AT&T Mocks Google Fiber's Struggles


by Karl Bode
Tuesday Nov 01 2016 14:10 EDT

AT&T has decided it's a good idea to make fun of Google Fiber's recent announcement that it's freezing new gigabit deployments as executives ponder a shift to wireless. In a new blog post by AT&T Senior Vice President for Wired and Wireless Products and Services Eric Boyer, the company pokes fun at Google's struggles by declaring that "making you search" is what Google does best, while deriding the company for engaging in "new-age marketing promises."

"What some of our competitors are just starting to realize (one after 6 years and only 8 metros) is that this endeavor is challenging," chides AT&T.
"We don’t take shortcuts," the company adds. "This is about good old-fashioned hard work, not new-age marketing promises that fall short in the end."
There's a few problems with AT&T's glib mockery. One being that many of the problems Google Fiber has been facing are courtesy of AT&T lobbyists. The company has not only lobbied for laws in more than a dozen states that hamstring public/private broadband partnerships, but it has also sued Nashville and Lousiville for implemeting pole attachment reform that would have sped up competitor deployments of fiber.
It's also interesting to see AT&T mock Google Fiber for deploying gigabit connections, given it was those deployments that spurred AT&T's own, scattered gigabit deployments. In fact, in markets where Google Fiber exists, AT&T is forced to charge up to $50 less per month for the same service.
And that's before we get to the fact that AT&T's "fiber to the press release" announcements declare markets "launched" when in many cases only a few housing developments, college dorms or apartments can actually get AT&T's service. Or the fact that AT&T's largest achievement this year was to impose usage caps and overage fees on all of the company's broadband subscribers. Or the fact that AT&T is spending $150 billion to buy DirecTV and Time Warner while millions of its broadband customers remain on DSL speeds circa 2002.
Meanwhile, AT&T's (and others) pithy Google Fiber funeral dirge may be a bit premature. While Google Fiber did layoff a small number of employees and has frozen possible expansions in eight markets it never actually officially promised service to, the company's build out continues in roughly twelve markets. And again, Google continues to claim that they're simply pausing because they're contemplating a pivot to next-generation wireless as a supplement to fiber, not because they're getting out of the broadband business entirely.
"We’re making great progress in those cities and we remain committed to growth in those cities," Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said last week. "We’re pausing for now our work in eight cities where we’ve been in exploratory discussions. But very much to your question, it’s to better integrate some of the technology work we’ve been developing."
AT&T has long tried to outright deny that Google Fiber has had any impact whatsoever on the company from a competitive perspective. Now AT&T's trying to bury Google Fiber six feet under with some glib wishful thinking. But even if Google Fiber does wind up being a pipe dream, the service is still a spotlight on the fact that most consumers want significantly better and faster broadband, at lower prices, that AT&T has traditionally been willing to offer.


Just another article (little piece) relating to lobbying efforts.
Visitor logs show Google’s unrivaled White House access
By Johnny Kampis  /   May 16, 2016  /   News
The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to expose corporate influence on government, identified policy pushers for the 50 biggest lobbying spenders and counted how many times they appeared in the White House visitor logs.
Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, spent $16.6 million on lobbying in 2015. That was the twelfth most of any company, and the most by a technology  firm, just above AT&T’s $16.4 million and Comcast’s $15.7 million.
Johanna Shelton, Google’s director of public policy — in effect, the company’s top lobbyist — has visited White House officials 128 times since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
To put that in perspective, senior lobbyists for other companies in the telecommunications and cable industry — including Comcast, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle and Verizon — have visited the White House a combined 124 times in the same span. (That data goes through October 2015.)
Shelton far outpaced her peers. The second most frequent White House visitor, with 75 visits, was Alissa Fox, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation for Blue Cross/Blue Shield (again, essentially a mouthful of a title for head lobbyist.)
Shelton didn’t return a call from seeking comment about the White House visits. Google media relations didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
“It suggests, given the intrusion of the Obama administration into the internet and health care, the idea these companies are independent of the government is quaint,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch,  a conservative foundation promoting transparency and accountability in government.
In all, employees of Google and related companies visited the White House 427 times, or more than once a week over a period of nearly seven years. Those trips included 363 meetings in total, attended by 169 Google employees — from executives to software engineers — and 182 officials from the White House.
Before working at Google, Shelton was senior counsel for telecommunications and internet issues for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and served as counsel on similar issues for Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Virginia. She also held multiple senior positions at the Federal Communications Commission.
A host of other former Google executives have ended up working in the administration, including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.
Shelton has most commonly met with David Edelman, senior adviser for technology and economic policy, (13 meetings) and Victoria Espinel, intellectual property enforcement coordinator (12 meetings.) Shelton has met with 48 White House officials in all.