AT&T isn’t wasting any time taking a swipe at Google Fiber’s move to halt further FTTH builds due to network installation costs and local ordinances that that make fiber builds a challenging prospect.
Google Fiber on Wednesday announced that it plans to halt the builds while CEO Craig Barratt will step down. What’s more, Google Fiber also plans to lay off workers in this division, but did not reveal when or how many employees will be let go.
While AT&T did not directly call out Google Fiber, its recent blog post, which called out the number of markets Google Fiber serves, clearly had the service in mind.
“What some of our competitors are just starting to realize (one after 6 years and only 8 metros) is that this endeavor is challenging,” said Eric Boyer, SVP of Wired and Wireless products and services for AT&T, in a blog post. “Connecting customers at scale and investing capital today in the future of connectivity is a big deal.”
Boyer added that in order to build fiber into more locations, AT&T conducts community outreach in areas where it wants to build out GigaPower, rather than asking cities and towns to realign existing laws regarding utility pole attachments.
“Expanding the availability of faster wired and wireless speeds begins with a conversation with cities and customers – not a checklist dictating terms or by pushing cities to enact lopsided legislation,” Boyer said.
Boyer was referring to Google Fiber’s call to get the laws changed in Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee to streamline the pole attachment process.
AT&T has found an unlikely ally in Comcast, which just filed a suit against Nashville over the Google Fiber-supported One Touch Make Ready ordinance. AT&T filed a similar suit in September.
The One Touch Make Ready ordinance, which was passed at the city’s Metro Council meeting in September, allows for a streamlined method to attach fiber to existing utility poles. With the OTMR process, Google Fiber would be able move other service provider’s wires on the utility poles, a process that AT&T and Comcast said could cause safety and outage issues.
For its part, AT&T has been aggressively rolling out its 1 Gbps Gigapower FTTH service to more markets, announcing a plan just this past week to connect more homes, businesses and apartments in 11 new metro areas.
By making this expansion, AT&T said it will bring services to at least 67 metros, with plans to launch in 45 metros by the end of this year. The service provider has already launched the Gigabit internet service in parts of 29 metros and has marketed it to more than 3 million locations, of which 500,000 include multifamily units.
AT&T said it’s “on track to exceed the 12.5 million locations planned by mid-2019.”