Is AT&T using “Title II” for their fiber deployments, including Wireless, like Verizon?


We have been attempting to answer the question about AT&T, especially in California. AT&T has proposed to ‘shut off the copper’, and that there are now 2 networks; the legacy state copper utility and the fancy broadband and wireless network.

But the real questions are being ignored. The AT&T networks have been allowed to deteriorate and the copper wires can be 50-80 years old. Over the last 3 decades, AT&T (and its previous iterations from Pacific Bell or SBC or Ameritech or BellSouth) — all of the states had made pitches to do a fiber optic future that never showed up for most people.

So, instead of even having a conversation about shutting off millions of customers, the real challenge should be — We paid for network upgrades over and over; We either want the money back or give us the fibet future we paid for — but at ‘just and reasonable’ prices, as we have been the defacto investors for decades.

If the fiber has been put in as ‘Title II’, then it could have been billed to local phone customers. Did the wires and the construction  budget get diverted to wireless?, And how much money was transferred that should have been upgrading the wired-state-public utility?


This is one of the pieces of evidence that the wires are Title II. In a court case,  AT&T Illinois, Illinois Bell Telephone v. Village of Itasca, Ill. May 25, 2007.

Project Lightspeed turned into U-Verse, a bait and switch since it was a ‘copper-to-the-home’ service, using the existing copper. Notice that the project is telecommunications, (even though it never mentions “Title II”, and it is not “cable Title VI”, which is mentioned. The plan has been to ‘transition” from copper wiring to fiber optic wiring, an ‘upgrade’ of the existing copper network. At this point in time, AT&T controlled 13 States– by 2023 it is 21 states.

“In an effort to upgrade its telecommunications network, AT&T developed Project Lightspeed, a $5 billion project to span across 13 states, including Illinois. Project Lightspeed is the most recent phase of AT&T’s transition from copper wiring to fiber optic wiring in transporting its telecommunications services….“Holding that a company upgrading its telecommunications network to fiber-optic…. “is not a ‘cable operator’ under the terms of [Title VI] because it is not providing the transmission of video programming. Right now, it is simply constructing a local distribution system capable of delivering video programming.”

We are looking for evidence that AT&T is using ‘telecommunications, Title II, or not. as the starting point

We go into detail about the use of Title II by Verizon elsewhere, but to be specific, this is a sample of the wording in the Verizon cable franchises. . Verizon NJ cable franchise, 2014

“Verizon NJ has been upgrading its telecommunications facilities in large portions of its telecommunications service territory so that cable television services may be provided over these facilities. This upgrade consists of deploying fiber optic facilities directly to the subscriber premises. The construction of Verizon NJ’s fiber-to-the-premises FTTP network (the FTTP network) is being performed under the authority of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and under the appropriate state telecommunications authority granted to Verizon NJ by the Board and under chapters 3 and 17 of the Department of Public Utilities Act of 1948.”

There are a host of issues about why this is important — AT&T claims that there are now 2 networks — the “antiquated, narrowband network” and the “forward looking fiber and wireless broadband network”.

“AT&T California, but not its major competitors, is required to wastefully operate and maintain two duplicative networks: one, an antiquated, narrowband network with an ever-dwindling base of subscribers, and the other, a forward-looking, fiber and wireless broadband network.2 The modest regulatory reforms sought in this Application would boost investment in next-generation broadband services and networks.”

“Footnote 2: As used herein, “AT&T Fiber and Wireless Broadband Networks”, includes both fiber and wireless segments.”

AT&T even claims that their own networks are competing with the telecommunications utility network.

“Moreover, almost everyone in AT&T California’s service territory can choose among several comparable or lower-priced wireline and wireless alternatives to POTS for voice service. These alternatives include such household names as Comcast/Xfinity, Charter/Spectrum, Cox, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless as well as AT&T Fiber and AT&T Mobility.”

We will b updating these findings as we uncover ,more details.