Now let me be very clear about this; I despise AT&T. Ars Technica has a great overview on how their recent statements about the internet backbone becoming overtaxed are simply untrue. It’s plain, old fashioned fear mongering aimed at allowing them to build an argument against the principle of network neutrality.
Here’s the killer bit from my perspective:
Analyst Daniel Beringer argued in a 2006 article that network maintenance and upgrade expenditures are a lower priority for AT&T than attaining monopoly control of the market through acquisitions. “The Bells only invest in more monopoly which usually means buying each other. The track record shows steadily lower spending on networks to increase free cash flow for acquisitions. The $140 billion SBC spent acquiring Ameritech, PacBell, SNET, AT&T Wireless, and AT&T lifted the company’s market cap by only $40 billion,” wrote Beringer. “SBC missed an opportunity as $140 billion happens to be about what it would cost to run fiber to every home in America.”
They had the chance to built or buy…and they decided to buy. Now they’re stuck with the business in its present form. Copper for the last mile is at the root of their inability to delivery newer and better services. It defines them.
They whine about their competitive situation yet fail to take the steps to ensure their own ability to compete. All the while cableco’s continue to erode their land line business. They were shortsighted and it is costing them dearly.
Sadly, its costs us all by diminishing our competitive edge as nation.