AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Monday that his company couldn’t afford to continue its fiber buildout until regulatory uncertainties were resolved.
“We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to one hundred cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,” Stephenson said during an investor conference that was broadcast online.
Stephenson’s comments come just days after President Obama’s strongest statement yet on the Net Neutrality debate. Obama urged the FCC to categorize ISPs under Title II, which would essentially make the Internet a public utility.
In a statement, AT&T called Obama’s comments “a complete reversal of a bipartisan policy” put in place by the Clinton adminstration to treat Internet access as an “information service subject to light-touch regulation.”
AT&T went on to asser that categorizing ISPs under Title to would “have a negative impact not only on investment and innovation, but also on our economy overall.”
Read More: OBAMA URGES TITLE II CLASSIFICATION FOR ISPS
During his talk Wednesday, Stephenson said that a pause in deployment of fiber was the only prudent move right now.
“Let’s make sure that we have line of sight and understanding as to what this process looks like,” Stephenson siad. “Where these rules can conceivably land? What those rules would look like and then let’s re-evaluate? But we are in a pause moment right now on those kinds of investments.”