AT and T announces 1 Gigabit “Paper Fiber” but reduces capital spending

[Via DSLReports] Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T’s response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they’re engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What’s actually happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds) and pretending it’s a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband.

AT&T today announced that the company is “eyeing” 100 potential target cities as locations they may deploy faster 1 Gbps “Gigapower” service. According to the company’s press release, this “major initiative” will target 100 “candidate cities and municipalities” across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide. Those users could then get AT&T’s $70-$100 per month 1 Gbps service, currently only available in a very small portion of Austin, Texas.

The press release admits as much if you look carefully. “This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014,” notes AT&T. That’s what they noted last year, and will surely say the same thing next year. In fact, AT&T’s been reducing their fixed-line CAPEX each year. What kind of major 1 Gbps broadband expansion doesn’t hit your CAPEX? One that’s either very tiny, or simply doesn’t exist.

If your city plays nice and gives AT&T what they want legislatively (namely gut consumer protections requiring they keep serving DSL users they don’t want so they can focus on more profitable wireless) you’ll get 1 Gbps fiber to a few high-end developments and apartment buildings. As an added bonus, your local politician can hold a lovely cord-cutting ceremony where he or she pretends to be encouraging the broadband networks of tomorrow (while in reality doing the exact opposite).

Look for specifics as to how many users will actually get 1 Gbps “Gigapower” service and at what cost to AT&T, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any whatsoever. That’s because “Gigapower” is about 10% actual broadband, and 90% finely-manicured bullshit.

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