AT&T stock nosedived to its lowest since 1993, following a damaging report earlier this month by Wall Street Journal stating that companies including Verizon and AT&T have left cables coated in lead from the Bell System’s telephone network in the US’s ground, water and on transmission poles, triggering environment toxicity.
The consequence has been a number of downgrades from analysts, leading to steep sell-off in telecom stocks. As per reports, since the investigation’s publication, AT&T shares have tumbled roughly 14%, Verizon fell 10% and Frontier Communications slid 33%.
AT&T has maintained that it does not intend to immediately remove lead cables from Lake Tahoe pending further analysis, according to its court filing.
AT&T states that the newspaper's reporting and testing "differs dramatically from the expert testing commissioned by AT&T."
Furthermore, AT&T has argued that lead-clad cables "represent less than 10% of its copper footprint of roughly two million sheath miles of cable, the overwhelming majority of which remains in active service." Over than two-thirds of its lead-clad cabling "is either buried or in conduit, followed by aerial cable, and with a very small portion running underwater," the company maintains.
The company in 2021 agreed to remove lead-clad telecommunications cables from Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada, to resolve a lawsuit despite its belief that they pose no danger.
On June 29, the company’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.2775 per share on the company’s common shares.