AT&T Statement on FCC’s Spectrum Aggregation and Auction Eligibility Order

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on May 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“AT&T has long argued that the FCC should adopt a spectrum aggregation and incentive auction framework that will encourage all carriers to participate vigorously in the upcoming auctions.  We specifically supported broad participation in the incentive auction, as contributions from the entire industry will be necessary to make the auction a success.  And we believed that the right framework would allow the Commission to send a clear message to broadcasters that they should bring as much spectrum as possible to the auction as there will be sufficient revenue to pay for their contributed licenses.

“Today, the Commission adopted rules and an auction framework that puts the auction on the path toward success.  While many important issues remain to be resolved, we believe that the spectrum aggregation and auction rules adopted today represent a significant step forward and will demonstrate to broadcasters that the incentive auction can and will attract significant carrier interest and demand.  And while we have long opposed auction restrictions and set asides, the compromise framework will give AT&T a fair shot to participate at auction for a meaningful 600 MHz footprint.  For these reasons, we support the auction framework.

“The steps taken by the FCC today are substantial.

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s Proposed Open Internet Rulemaking

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on May 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm


The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“AT&T is committed to an Open Internet.  We supported the Commission’s 2005 Open Internet Policy Statement, as well as the Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Rules which codified that policy.  Our network management practices are designed to comply with those rules.  Those practices are described on our website today, in accordance with FCC rules that were not vacated by the DC Circuit, and are still today fully enforceable by the FCC.  In short, broadband customers throughout the United States have access to AT&T’s open broadband networks which comply fully with Open Internet principles that have been in place for almost a decade.

“The framework adopted by the Commission in 2010 achieved a delicate balance that ensures openness, while maintaining a stable environment for investment.  As a result, infrastructure providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars to provide American consumers with the most robust wireline and wireless broadband networks in the world.

“This debate has been falsely labeled as a debate over fast lanes and slow lanes.  It is not about that at all.  This debate is over whether we will continue to foster an investment environment that has allowed US companies to build the world’s best networks so that all consumers can have the fastest Internet lanes in the world.

“Going backwards 80 years to the world of utility regulation would represent a tragic step in the wrong direction. Utility regulation would strangle investment, hobble innovation, and put government regulators in charge of nearly every aspect of Internet-based services. It would deprive America of the world’s most robust broadband infrastructure, and place a cloud over every application or website that delivers products and content to consumers.  In short, it would place government in control of the Internet at the expense of private companies, inventors and entrepreneurs, and ultimately at the expense of the American people.

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More on the Low Band
Spectrum Debate

Posted by: Joan Marsh on May 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm

As the debate about auction limitations and restrictions rages on, one new argument is particularly notable.

CCA has for months sought low band restrictions or limits in the auction. CCA has long argued that AT&T and Verizon have somehow foreclosed their members from access to low band spectrum (a notion that I debunked in a blog some months ago).  Therefore, CCA has argued, there should be low band limits that restrict AT&T and Verizon in the 600 MHz auction while their members have free reign.

The FCC has now proposed a set of restrictions that basically gives CCA exactly what it has demanded – it is proposing to restrict a carrier’s participation in the 600 MHz auction based on the amount of low band spectrum it holds in its portfolio.  One would think CCA would be cheering from the stands, but they are not.  Why?  Because the FCC’s proposal has finally forced CCA to acknowledge that there are “multiple examples” “throughout the country” of incidences where their members already have a significant portfolio of low band spectrum.  Those members would therefore be restricted under the FCC’s current proposal. 

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AT&T Statement on Markup of
Senate Tax Extenders Package

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on April 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson issued the following statement after the Senate Finance Committee markup of the EXPIRE Act:

“We applaud the markup of this important piece of legislation. The bill’s two-year commitment to these crucial tax-extenders is a bridge to meaningful comprehensive tax reform that provides the certainty needed to drive investment and job creation in the United States.

“The successful markup of this bipartisan bill, which, importantly, includes the extension of accelerated bonus depreciation, gives us the confidence to begin moving forward with the deployment of fiber to additional U.S. cities. This decision is based on our belief that the Wyden-Hatch measure stands a very good chance of becoming law this year. Obviously, our investment in major fiber deployments to additional U.S. cities will create jobs and provide a significant boost to local economies. We expect the bill will spur similar investment decisions by other U.S. companies.

“We support Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch in this effort, and look forward to working with the full Senate and U.S. House of Representatives toward passage of this legislation.”

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More on Auction Limits

Posted by: Joan Marsh on April 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

The word out of the FCC is that we can expect a 600 MHz auction framework item in the May timeframe.  This has set the auction restrictions drums beating (again).  Calls for large-carrier limitations and even strategic set asides are growing ever louder.

In all the rhetoric, some fundamental facts are getting lost.  So, let’s ground this debate.

Fact No. 1:  It will take a lot of revenue for the incentive auction to be successful.  Chairman Wheeler recently observed that a successful auction here will likely mirror prior auctions, which have generally offered somewhere between 50 and 90 MHz for sale.   Most observers believe this auction would be deemed wildly successful if it yielded 70 MHz of paired spectrum, which will require that 84 MHz (at a minimum) be cleared.

The question is then how much it will cost the Commission to attract sufficient broadcaster interest to clear 84 MHz.  I don’t purport to know much about broadcaster price expectations, but let’s use as a rough proxy the prices paid for the 700 MHz B block in Auction 73.  If you impute those prices against the type of station clearing we believe will be needed in major markets to achieve 84 MHz cleared, you quickly get to a clearing price tag well north of $20 billion – a sum that by itself exceeds the revenues obtained by the FCC in any prior auction.

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