AT&T: Google Fiber Demands Government Favors
In a strongly-worded memo posted to its website this week, AT&T accused Google's Fiber division of seeking government favors and failing to follow through on its plans to offer high-speed broadband and wireless Internet.
"Instead of playing by the same rules as everyone else building infrastructure, Google Fiber demands special treatment and indeed in some places is getting it, unfairly," AT&T Vice President Joan Marsh wrote. She offered a list of several missteps since Google joined the ISP business nearly ten years ago as evidence that the tech company can't deliver on its promises.
Those missteps include the planned rollout of gigabits-per-second public Wi-Fi, which largely fizzled after Google announced it in 2007. The company is once again revisiting that proposal, though, as it seeks cheaper alternatives to installing fiber cables and other infrastructure.
AT&T and other ISPs, of course, are facing the same challenges. But cooperation seems to be out of the question: AT&T is using lawsuits and other tactics to hinder Google Fiber's expansion. Ultimatley, Marsh said her company is in a better position to invest in and deliver fiber-based broadband.
"Between 2011 and 2015, while Google Fiber was cutting its teeth on fiber, AT&T invested over $140B in its network, building to over one million route miles of fiber globally and deploying ultra-high-speed fiber-fed GigaPower broadband services, reaching over a hundred cities," she said.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on AT&T's accusations. But notwithstanding their incendiary tone, they are well-timed: rumors have been flying in recent weeks that Google's Fiber division is struggling. In addition to seeking cheaper wireless alternatives in its quest to serve 5 million customers by the end of the decade, it is reportedly cutting its staff in half as it looks to reduce costs.