AT&T trash talks Google over Fiber fiasco: Leave ISP stuff to the experts

Telco takes a victory lap as ad giant's broadband plans collapse

With Google deciding to cut back on its Fiber workforce and reconsidering its plan to deliver broadband service, competing ISPs are cackling with glee at the Chocolate Factory's misfortunes.

In a post to the company's public policy blog, AT&T vice president of federal regulatory issues Joan Marsh took a moment to needle Google and dismiss Fiber as an "experiment" for the Mountain View ads giant.

"Google Fiber will no doubt continue its broadband experiments, while coming up with excuses for its shortcomings and learning curves," said Marsh.

"It will also no doubt continue to seek favoritism from government at every level."

This after Google has cut roughly half of the workforce for its Fiber business amidst plans for a shift from a focus on laying cable-based networks to using a combination of cable and wireless equipment from the newly-acquired Webpass.

AT&T has long opposed Google's Fiber efforts, in particular the conflicts that arise when Google seeks right-of-way access to telephone poles in order to string its cable and, in the process, move the cables of AT&T and other carriers that have already been installed.

The battle has extended into the halls of local government, where Google has asked cities to ease restrictions that would allow it to run the cables without asking other companies to move their lines on every pole first. AT&T has argued that Google and its contractors cannot be allowed to handle (and potential damage) the lines that power their internet services.

"Google Fiber still complains it's too hard, and costs too much, and takes too long – even as it's reported that Google Fiber will now try to do all this with half its current workforce," Marsh wrote.

"Meanwhile, without excuses or finger-pointing, and without presenting ultimatums to cities in exchange for service, AT&T continues to deploy fiber and to connect our customers to broadband services in communities across the country."

AT&T customers, however, might not be so happy to see Google scale back its ISP rollout, given the tendency for AT&T broadband prices to drop significantly in markets where it faced competition from Google Fiber. ®

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