The FCC has sent a letter to AT&T (NYSE: T) seeking more information about CEO Randal Stephenson’s declared “pause” in fiber network deployments due to concerns about Internet regulation.
AT&T had said it would deploy fiber networks in the Triangle, including the North Carolina Next Generation Network. The company will continue to work with the NCNGN consortium to plan the network, AT&T North Carolina President Venessa Harrison told WRAL TechWire on Thursday.
AT&T said it would cooperate with the request, a spokesperson emailed Bloomberg news and re/code, which is a Wall Street Journal news site.
Both news agencies as well as Reuters reported the FCC inquiry.
The federal agency is also reviewing AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV.
President Obama on Monday called for the FCC to regulate Internet Service Providers as a utility in pursuit of so-called “net neutrality.”
Regulators asked AT&T Inc. (T) to explain comments by its chief executive officer that he may delay expanding its fast Web service because the government is still debating rules to govern Internet traffic. In the letter the FCC said it wanted to know if AT&T’s financial projection for networks “demonstrates that fiber deployment is now unprofitable,” re/code reported.
AT&T has said it would extend fiber network connectivity to some 2 million additional homes if the FCC were to approve the DirecTV deal.
AT&T, Verizon and Comcast oppose net neutrality. Other firms such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo support rules to govern providers. The FCC is mulling a new strategy after a previous net neutrality plan was rejected in court.
According to Bloomberg, Jamilla Ferris of the FCC who is leading the DirecTV-AT&T review, “sought ‘all documents’ related to plans to limit fiber beyond the 2 million homes pledged in the deal.”