Late last month, in their fourth quarter earnings call, AT&T basically said that they are going to stop expansion of their broadband footprint, especially in rural areas. From the mouth of Randall L Stephenson, AT&T CEO:
…we have been apprehensive on moving, doing anything on rural access lines because the issue here is, do you have a broadband product for rural America?
We’ve all been trying to find a broadband solution that was economically viable to get out to rural America, and we’re not finding one to be quite candid. The best opportunity we have is LTE.
We are obviously excited about the opportunity to use LTE to get to rural America with the T-Mobile transaction.That having been set aside, now we’re looking at rural America and asking, what’s the broadband solution? We don’t have one right now.
Anyone who knows about the physics of mobile wireless knows that LTE is not going to be the savior in rural areas. Apparently AT&T has finally figured that out as well. Combine this with Stephenson’s earlier quote that referred to DSL as being “obsolete” and you can imagine how customers on AT&T’s landline networks with shoddy DSL or no broadband access are feeling right now.
Here is the message to AT&T from the 2000+ WISP operators around the US – “Don’t worry bro, we got this.” Anytime, anywhere that the incumbent telcos or cable companies refuse to build out or step up their network performance, there will be a WISP there to do it for them.
Thanks for the customers AT&T! Keep em coming!