Dear AT&T California residents who are being threatened with a ‘shut off’ of the aging copper wires;

Bruce Kushnick
4 min readMar 19, 2024


IRREGULATORS Position — First, Californians should demand all of the money back to pay for the fiber optic wires that should have been installed as part of the state public utility upgrades over the last 30 years.

ACTION: SEPARATE AT&T FROM CALIFORNIA’S NETWORKS; Start proceedings to separate AT&T from control of California’s state utility wires that they let deteriorate.

ACTION: AT&T Created the Digital Divide. AT&T failed to properly upgrade and maintain for 30 years the franchised state telecommunications public utility known as Pacific Bell. AT&T has offered up a continuous delivery of inferior solutions such as U-verse, (that in actuality is a copper to the home service), or the failed DirectTV plan (which could not deliver high speed broadband services). All of these inferior solutions led to large parts of AT&T utility franchise area being a Digital Desert, and victim of the Digital Divide.

ACTION: AT&T’s Wireless Bait and Switch: We believe AT&T diverted billions to build out the wireless networks — a strategic plan to use the utility as the cash machine — and left the customers to be ‘harvested’ via continuous rate increases.

ACTION: Demand Thousands of Dollars Back Per Line. If AT&T diverted the construction budgets etc. and gave the right of way to the wireless company — and charged all wireline customers extra via harvesting — money that was supposed to be used for network upgrades to your home — -Every cent of overcharging should be paid back, and all prices adjusted.

ACTION: DO NOT ACCEPT A WIRELESS BAIT AND SWITCH FOR FIBER. AT&T’s plan is to shut off the copper and force-march customers onto inferior wireless services. Do not accept that outcome.

INVESTIGATE: FOLLOW THE MONEY: All of the cross-subsides to wireless and the other lines of business that diverted billions away from properly upgrading and maintaining the state telecommunication PUBLIC utility known as Pacific Bell, now AT&T California.

INVESTIGATE: THERE IS NO SECOND NETWORK. AT&T claims that there is a ‘second network’ of broadband and wireless — It now appears that this is a massive financial manipulation and that there is no second network; it is the utility public property funded via overcharging that has been transferred to the other lines of business or other corporate financial gains.

CRITICAL: This means that ALL fiber that was put in was most likely charged to customers and to the state telecommunications public utility and is part of the utility,

ACTION: The State needs to immediately investigate the failure of the state CPUC commission to provide proper oversight and investigations. The State failed to collect basic information and analysis of primary issues which includes harvesting of customers via continuous rate increases, a failure of AT&T to provide high speed broadband to all areas of their state franchised areas, and to examine the financial cross-subsidies that were identified in previous reports and analyses.

NO AUDITS: There have been no serious audits or investigations of the flows of money in California for at least 15 years, or if they were done, they were redacted or ignored. As stated in the 2013 Annual Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 DIVCA Report, (we summarize):

The California PUC has not investigated AT&T’s cross-subsidization of services, even when the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA) and TURN raised the matter . The Commission claimed that the FCC’s accounting, known as ARMIS data, did not include data to determine if there were violations. This was not true.

How much money are we talking about? Billions: We believe there is massive cross-subsidizing leading to overcharging of the wired networks by AT&T, costing consumers $1.7–2.4 billion annually and that this money can be redirected to fund fiber optic broadband to all, not at 100 Mbps speed for downloads but 1Gbps in both directions, as well lower dramatically lower rates on all communications.

MISSING AND MISREPRESENTATION: Nothing in the state 5 year broadband plan for government subsidies even mentions AT&T or its previous commitments to upgrade the state or the failure to do so. Nor does it mention that state laws were changed multiple times to ‘deregulate’ pricing, — i.e. rate increases on the copper-based wired services.


Start Audits and Investigations Now.

Break up AT&T — Separate AT&T from the wires as it is clear they caused the Digital Divide which also created losses of hundreds of billions of dollars in economic growth, not to mention all of the benefits that customers never received because they were never upgraded to a fiber optic future.

Our filings, reports, articles about the California failed fiber optic plans and the billions of dollars overcharged or diverted to the other lines of business. These are just some of the items we filed or wrote about for the last 20 years


· History of Fiber Optic Broadband in CA, 1993–2005.

· Our Work about California Broadband


· Additional Report: AT&T’s Comments to the CA Broadband Council Exposes Serious Questions about the Company’s Network Investments.

· Summary Release about the Report




Bruce Kushnick

New Networks Institute,Executive Director, & Founding Member, IRREGULATORS; Telecom analyst for 40 years, and I have been playing the piano for 65 years.