- FACT SHEET: AT&T California Fiber Optic Broadband Timeline, 1993-2019
- HUFF POST: Summary: Expose: AT&T California Fiber Optic Scandal: Billions Charged for Broadband that Never Showed Up
- Free Download: “Book of Broken Promises: $200 Billion Broadband Scandal” focused on telling the story of the failure what is now AT&T to provide fiber optics services to California and the other 20 states AT&T now controls.
- Read the Full STORY: The History of Fiber Optic Broadband in California, 1993-2005; This was the first wave of commitments to have California upgraded to fiber.
BACK IN THE STACKS: DEEP DIVE ARCHIVE: ARTICLES, FILINGS AND REPORTS 2002-2019
In 1993, AT&T California (formerly Pacific Bell California, then SBC California) announced it would be spending $16 billion on fiber optic upgrades to 5.5 million homes by the year 2000; 1.5 million by 1996. This was 24 years ago. This page is from the Pacific Telesis 1994 Investor Fact Book, showing the cities and part of California controlled by what is now AT&T that were supposed to be upgraded by the year 2000.
FACT SHEET 1: Year by Year: A Plan that Failed (A timeline of Pacific Bell’s California First plan.) From 1993-1998 This is a summary timeline created by the San Diego Union Tribune, Feb. 1, 1998, Page I-1.
Virtually no one knows the history of fiber optic broadband in America, much less what happened in their state, even though they were charged thousands of dollars per household. Instead, in 2017, we get embarrassing proposed laws, such as SB-649 in California, which claims that if the State just frees the companies from regulations, they will deliver new, ‘fabulous’, broadband wireless services. These are tied to other bills and new proposed regulations, including current FCC proceedings to ‘shut off the copper’ and replace it with wireless. It is time for investigations, not new gifts to AT&T et al.
AT&T’s U-verse service — its broadband, internet and TV service — is a copper-to-the-home service. More importantly, it is a fiber-to-the-press-release. Going though hundreds of blogs and articles as well as AT&T’s state and federal testimony and filings — including AT&T’s recent FCC petition to close down the Public Switched Telephone Networks, (PSTN), AT&T never once mentioned that AT&T’s U-verse is a copper-based PSTN service. U-verse uses the same, exact wires that have been in homes and offices for decades, even though AT&T is claiming that the PSTN is “too old” and needs to be “retired,” closing down about 50 percent of their 22 state territories’ utility networks.
AT&T has also told anyone who will listen that the company needs to “transition” the PSTN networks to an “all Internet protocol network” to make “Voice Over the Internet Protocol” (VOIP) work
HUFF POST: AT&T’s IP Transition Trials Lost 32% of “Legacy” Customers, yet the Over-hyped Con Continues.
The IP Transition for the IP delivery of voice, video and data services is not about technology advancement as told by AT&T—it’s been a plan to remove regulations to have to provide any service, especially wired telephone service, even though AT&T is the state-based utility in its current 21 states service area. More importantly, the plan has always also been about migrating customers off the wires onto their wireless—but, with the caveat that the company hides the remaining wires known as ‘special access’ lines or as the FCC renamed them ‘Broadband Data Services’ (BDS), that will be used for wireless and the upcoming small cell “DAS” deployments.
The reason for this reawakening is that the FCC is putting out a new IP Transition Order, expected at the FCC meeting on July 14th, 2016, and the scuttlebutt is that it will allow the incumbent companies, AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, to just shut off customers — with minimum notice and the companies have already filed to make this happen.
But this has all been a con… a deceptive play, not about technology advances; it’s been about removing regulations and controlling public policies in the corporate interest and not the public interest.
In 2014, AT&T has asked the FCC to let it start a ‘transition’ of its networks, moving to all ‘Internet-based’ (IP) services, with ‘trials’ to start in Alabama and Florida. AT&T also claims that it needs to merge with Direct TV as it will not only start rolling out ‘fiber optic cities’ but will also supply broadband service to rural areas that are not being served with broadband today.
But we found disturbing proof in the last few months that AT&T’s own statements about their proposed plans directly contradicts previous commitments to provide broadband — or worse, it exposes a case of deception.
There is a proposed piece of legislation in California for the deployment of lots of small wireless cell antennas, and this is also happening simultaneously in other states, Congress and at the FCC. And, wouldn’t you know it; those who benefit the most from these state and federal gifts are AT&T et al., the companies who are also funding and engineering these campaigns. In fact, these state bills appear to be based on ‘model legislation’ that was created by the Wireless Infrastructure Association, WIA and by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Counsel.
The California Senate Bill, No. 649, which did not pass, essentially would have allowed companies to not have to bother with any of those pesky local zoning laws.– But it come back over and over.
This is a picture of the principal coauthor, Assembly Member Quirk getting a $1/2 million check for a project in his area from AT&T. (On the right.)
And when we checked, we found other donations by AT&T and the press releases quoting State Senator Ben Hueso.
“’Digital literacy is critical not only to California’s economy, but to the personal and professional development of all Californians,’ said California State Senator Ben Hueso. ‘AT&T is educating all walks of life through its Digital You technology training workshops. I am excited to be part of this event and see our residents learn the skills, knowledge and principles of computer devices and networks that will help them successfully navigate through the digital world’.”