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AT&T nixes fiber plans amid net neutrality firestorm

Are you tired of your lackluster Internet connection? The good news is high-speed fiber Internet connections are the wave of future. But, you may have to wait longer than expected to get them. That's because AT&T has decided to put its fiber plans on pause while it waits for the FCC to clear up the net neutrality mess.

Recently, President Barack Obama made a YouTube video in favor of net neutrality. He's been a long-time supporter of the concept and thinks it will keep service providers like Verizon, Comcast and others from selling fast lanes to companies that can afford it. It could also keep Internet costs low for most Americans. Meanwhile, many Internet providers fear more regulation would hurt competition and the viability of their businesses.

For his part, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says he won't bend to pressure from the president because the FCC is an independent agency, after all. So, we're stuck in limbo until the FCC comes out with its final decision.

AT&T doesn't like that uncertainty. So it doesn't want to take on the expense and risk of installing high-speed fiber in cities across America without knowing what the future of industry looks like.

In the short term, customers in the 100 cities announced in AT&T's initial fiber plans are going to have to wait for high-speed fiber Internet unless Google Fiber is coming to your city.

If the FCC chooses to categorize Internet providers as a utility under Title II like the president wants, it could drastically change the way they operate and make money.

"We can't go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed," Stephenson said, according to a report from Reuters. AT&T brought the service to Austin last year, beating Google, and said they were exploring more investments in major metro areas. But as of April, negotiations with the cities were still in early stages.

That doesn't mean that AT&T's fiber plans are dead, though. They're likely just on hold. When the FCC makes its decision, AT&T will probably resume its investments in fiber.

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