Recently, AT&T issued countless press releases that let everyone know how much they have been and currently are investing in their business.
For the fourth year in a row AT&T finished atop the Progressive Policy Institute’s (PPI) list of U.S. Investment Heroes. The annual study recognizes the top 25 American companies investing in the United States. As with last year’s report, this year’s report, U.S. Investment Heroes of 2015, found telecom and cable companies to be the strongest sector for domestic capital spending, with AT&T leading the pack. AT&T’s total investment during this time, including acquisitions of spectrum and wireless operations totals nearly $140 billion, with $21.4 billion invested in 2014 alone. And AT&T expects to invest in the $21 billion range in 2015. – ATT.com
This comes after a recent report by the Dell’Oro Group which stated that carriers in general continue to invest in the telecom industry.
“Despite increased uncertainty in the equity markets and continued downward revisions to global GDP outlook, worldwide telecom capex maintains strong spend levels in 2015. Carriers continued to invest in their networks at a healthy pace in the first half of 2015 and the majority of the carriers have not made any material revisions to their 2015 guidance.” – FierceTelecom
Then there is the most recent spectrum auction which saw telecom companies spending almost $45 billion, nearly four and a half times the reserve price and twice what observers had been expecting.
But, how is all of this happening? Wasn’t net neutrality supposed to kill off network investment? When the FCC put in place net neutrality rules earlier this year, investment was supposed to fall off tremendously. Remember?
According to AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, net neutrality rules would cause AT&T to stop investing in high-speed Internet connections in cities across the country. In 2010, AT&T also threatened to stop expanding their U-Verse broadband/TV service if the FCC implemented net neutrality rules.
This comes as other telecom companies and their lobbying groups sent letters to the FCC claiming that net neutrality would cause them to lower or stop network investment.
According to telecom-funded blogs, net neutrality rules would be a threat to our economy!
Another telecom-funded group alerted us about the likely dangers of net neutrality. Not only would such rules stifle investment but threats to our national security would increase due to net neutrality!
As we now know, net neutrality hasn’t really had much of an effect on telecom spending. In fact, recent stories from broadband providers show continued spending on new projects. Comcast has announced a nationwide two gigabit fiber deployment, Google Fiber continues to push into new markets, and an endless series of municipal, smaller cable ops and even wireless companies have announced new gigabit projects (small and large) by the day.