Anchor Institutions or a
Digital Bridge to Nowhere?

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on October 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

One of the most important issues that the FCC should examine in considering a proposal to expand its E-rate programs, is the issue of “dark fiber.” Dark fiber refers to fiber optic cable that has not been activated, or “lit,” for use. Some people are saying that the FCC should expand E-rate by expending limited Universal Service Fund (USF) resources on limited-reach networks, i.e., networks that only reach the locations of E-rate customers, and do not provide broadband services to the community at large. But in a world where USF dollars are limited, and any expansion in E-rate could reduce funding available for other universal service objectives, it is critical that the FCC build synergies between its programs. E-rate should not become a digital bridge to nowhere.

Proponents of this plan argue that dark fiber could be a more cost-effective way for schools and libraries to afford high speed broadband service. But policymakers must be careful when analyzing this assumption. Fiber in the ground does not a reliable broadband service make. The Commission proposes to support the cost of electronics to light the fiber, but what about the considerable expertise required to setup and manage the ongoing operation of a sophisticated network? Are schools going to be expected to take on this role? Or will they need to hire consultants? Asking a school to become a telecom provider makes about as much sense as asking a telecom provider to open an elementary school. Our public schools already have the most challenging and important job in the country — educating our children. Does it make public policy sense to add owning and operating networks to that job? The answer cannot possibly be yes.

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AT&T Statement on Debt Ceiling and Potential U.S. Government Default

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

DALLAS, Oct. 4, 2013 — The following may be attributed to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson:

“It is unthinkable that the United States could default on its financial commitments, and it would be the height of irresponsibility for any public official to consider such a course. In fact, even the discussion of default poses great risk to our economy and to our country. It is imperative to our Nation that the overwhelming majority of our public officials who recognize this reality unite their efforts, regardless of party, to bring a responsible solution forward.”

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Images from the NOYS 2013 Teen Distracted Driving Summit

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on September 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19:    (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
AT&T’s Charlene Lake addresses the crowd at the 2013 NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC.


CLake Thanking Signers 09-19-13

Lake thanking students for taking the pledge


ICW-Large-Group-Sept-19-Photo_591Pictured are: Brian Conklin, USAA; Reggie Shaw; Michael Miess, T-Mobile; Bill Barloon, Sprint; Melissa Digby, USAA; Coco Jones, Teen actress and recording artist; Melanie Ortel, Verizon; Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC; Sue Sampson, State Farm; Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administration; Charlene Lake, AT&T; and Christopher Hart, NTSB.

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Remarks by AT&T’s Charlene Lake at NOYS Teen Distracted Driving Summit

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on September 19, 2013 at 11:15 am

Remarks by Charlene Lake, AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, as prepared for delivery at the NOYS 2013 Teen Distracted Driving Summit today in Washington, DC: 

Javon, thanks for that warm welcome. Javon is no newcomer to saving lives. He volunteers his time training high school and middle school students in central Virginia as youth traffic safety advocates. Thanks for your commitment to making our society safer, and thanks for your commitment to NOYS.

NOYS is a terrific organization, and thanks to Roy, Julie and Lyndsay for bringing us together today. I’m not sure what’s more exciting – seeing so many familiar faces from last year’s Summit or seeing so many new ones. Either way, the energy, commitment, and ability to get things done is a powerful and contagious force to witness in our nation’s capital. At last year’s Summit, I challenged everyone to join AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign to end texting while driving. I asked you to speak up to your friends, your peers, your parents, and your communities. I challenged you to get behind a campaign that would save lives. You’ve accomplished more than I ever could have hoped.

You’ve organized countless events to underscore the consequences of looking away from the road – even for only two seconds – to send a text message. One great example is the Massachusetts Teen Distracted Driving Leadership Summit organized by Brian, Matt and Tim Salit. Their summit kicked off an effort to get every school to hold a local event and to reach about 30,000 students in the state. Let’s thank Brian, Matt and Tim for making a difference! The Salits’ work and passion is representative of what so many of you students here are doing to make the roads safer for all of us. One of the most powerful ways you do that is through real-life stories.

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Bringing America’s Classrooms
Into the Digital Age

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on September 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Yesterday, we filed comments in the FCC’s proceeding to modernize the E-rate program to meet President Obama’s goal of bringing broadband to every classroom in America. We fully support this goal and we look forward to working with the Commission to make it happen.

The current structure of the E-rate program does not reflect the reality of today’s rapidly growing high-speed world. Therefore the program should shift from supporting basic telecom and Internet access services to supporting the expansion of high-speed broadband connections into every school and library. Not only should broadband be prioritized over other services when it comes to receiving funding, but the Commission should also put funding toward ensuring adequate internal connections within these institutions. Access to broadband is useless if you don’t have sufficient inside wiring or electronics.

An additional priority for a modernized E-rate program should be addressing the needs of those schools and libraries that currently have either inadequate or no broadband service at all. Getting high-speed broadband connections into these anchor institutions will not only have an immediate, and positive, impact on students and teachers but it will also help the surrounding communities by increasing everyone’s access. What stands to undermine this effort, however, is the proposal to put E-rate money toward the build out of private fiber networks to institutions that already have adequate access to broadband. It is wasteful, inefficient and makes no sense to fund additional, private networks where commercial providers are already making high-speed broadband available.

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