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FCC Asks AT&T CEO For Documents Amid Fiber Delay

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Maria Bartiromo’s interview with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson moved the FCC to ask AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) for all documents pertaining to their fiber build out delay. The excerpts pertaining to the inquiry are below regarding net neutrality.

AT&T CEO on pausing their fiber build out plans:

“We’re in long-term investment cycles in this industry.  We invest billions of dollars in broadband and I don’t think anything is going to change the next two or three years under this premise.  But we’re making these investments that are long-term investments and we have to ask, under what rules will those be regulated in two or three years? And until we have some kind of clarity to that, we’re going to have to really slow ourselves down.  We’re going to have to pause and make sure we have some idea what these rules will look like in two or three years. So as a result, we made some commitments in the DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) deal that we will build-out broadband to a number of homes.  But anything beyond that, we’re going to pause.  We’re going to stop and wait until we see where this goes before we make those investments.”

AT&T CEO on whether the president’s comments earlier this week on net neutrality pertain to the AT&T/DirecTV merger:

“Our deal with DirecTV is inconsequential to broadband. We’re not combining any broadband companies, alright, we’re combining DirecTV’s business with us. So there’s no broadband implications to it. So I can’t see why that would motivate those kinds of comments.”

AT&T CEO on the proposal that internet services should be regulated end-to-end like a telephone utility:

“To take this internet, this massive ecosystem, that is moving fast. The products are moving fast. The features are moving fast. And put them under that sort of regulatory framework, you can formulate your own opinions as to whether that’s a good idea or not. Even if you believe it’s a good idea, to accomplish what the president has proposed is going to be a very elongated process… For 20 years, the FCC has stated very clearly that these services do not belong under those rules.  And then the Supreme Court has upheld those decisions time and again. And so for the president to accomplish what he wants is going to be a very long process by the FCC to get it done.  And then the — people can rest assured that somebody, whether it’s AT&T or not, somebody will litigate that outcome.”

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