Wireline Bureau BDS Document Dump

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

The following may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“For months, the FCC has been pushing aside the APA and due process in this proceeding. This is especially troubling when the policies the agency seems to be pursuing will have such a devastating impact on the incentives of all companies to invest in fiber infrastructure in the United States. Over and over, the Commission has modified and updated data that are supposed to be the foundation of its analysis without allowing parties sufficient time to adjust to the constantly moving target.  Yesterday, the Commission released the peer review responses to its third-party economist’s study (the study which constitutes the analytical core of its NPRM) two months after they were received by the Commission, and on the same day comments on the NPRM were due.  The Commission did this despite having assured all parties that it would release the peer review data when completed, which should have been two months ago.

“To put it another way, the FCC released an NPRM which it knew (at the time of release) was based on a study that peer review had determined was flawed. It then required the industry to file comments on that flawed study. And once comments were filed, the Commission performed a huge data dump on the industry (which we will now have to unpack and comment upon) containing these previously withheld peer reviews and additional analyses that purport to respond to them.  Moreover, instead of having their hired third party economist address the comments from his peers on his paper, the Commission assigned that task to the same FCC staff which will write the final rules in this proceeding.  This is completely unorthodox and defeats the entire purpose of having a third party study in the first place.

“Whatever the FCC’s excuse for delaying the release of this critical data, the lack of due process only reinforces that this agency is driving to reach a pre-ordained outcome. This is the very thing that is not supposed to happen under the Administrative Procedures Act.  Rather than arriving at a sound policy decision based on unbiased factual analysis, the Commission seems determined to once again put its thumb on the scale, picking winners and losers in the market based on their own arbitrary predetermined interests.  Further, the agency appears to be ignoring the Commission’s statutorily required processes in order to achieve that desired result.   Actions like this ultimately tarnish the agency’s reputation and leave the Commission open to claims that it is merely carrying out a politically motivated agenda rather than acting as an independent agency operating in accordance with the APA.  The FCC may be in a hurry to check every box on its agenda before January, but that in no way excuses the process abuses we are seeing.”

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s Outage Reporting Rules for Submarine Cables

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm

The following may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“Submarine cable facilities have important national security and commercial implications.  For this reason, a coalition representing cable providers sought to give the FCC constructive input on a meaningful yet reasonable cable outage reporting framework.  Today’s order, however, perpetuates flawed assumptions from the recent Part 4 Order on terrestrial facilities – such as requiring outage reports for events that simply affect redundancy of service – and woefully underestimates the costs and burdens of compliance. These new regulatory requirements and deadlines will do little to enhance the resiliency of submarine cable facilities.

“Under this new regulatory regime, providers will be required to file an initial report within eight hours of determining that an outage is reportable, decreasing to four hours over time, and an interim report within 24 hours of receiving a cable repair plan.  International undersea cables, which are often jointly managed by a large number of companies from many different countries, extend from continent to continent and are not easily accessible.  The adopted intervals for the initial report are insufficient given the logistical issues associated with international operations and the significant amount of coordination necessary amongst companies. And changing the interval over time needlessly increases the costs and complexity of implementing the new requirements.

“Further, the order’s conclusion that these new reporting requirements be implemented within six months is unreasonable and disregards industry input.  Given the amount of coordination, and investments in new technology for older submarine cables necessary to implement a new reporting system, members of the industry had sought as much as 18 months to put the new framework in place.  AT&T anticipates that it will require much longer than six months for many of our submarine cables, which are older and jointly owned with multiple foreign partners.

“This new framework will impose substantial costs and burdens on providers without identifying corresponding benefits during times when the principal objective should be repairing the undersea cable facilities, not completing unnecessary and redundant reporting to the government.”

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Special Access Doublespeak

Posted by: Frank Simone on June 22, 2016 at 10:23 am

I’m often struck by the doublespeak that takes place in DC and, particularly, at the FCC when companies come to the agency to argue that the Commission should regulate their competitors. The Special Access proceeding at the Commission is one of those special dockets that is a real breeding ground for what I like to call “both sides of our mouth” (BSOM) advocacy.  Whether it’s Verizon calling to regulate its cable competitors, BT arguing for lower special access rates than it charges its competitors in England, or Sprint-progeny Windstream arguing to re-regulate everyone’s retail rates but their own, this proceeding is a showcase for that special brand of BSOM advocacy.

But one company truly rises above the rest when it comes to saying one thing to the FCC and another to investors – Sprint.  Not even two months ago, Sprint came to the FCC and argued that it has no choice but to purchase business broadband services from incumbent carriers because only they provide those connections for the vast majority of buildings with business data service (BDS) demand in the country.

Imagine my surprise then when I saw a recent Fierce Telecom article on Sprint’s Ethernet strategy. Once again, a Sprint executive’s candid statements reveal the reality that betrays their FCC advocacy. In the article, Sprint stated that cable business data services, specifically Ethernet over DOCSIS, will provide them with a competitive alternative to existing special access services and fill out an Ethernet footprint that covers “95 percent of the country.” Yet at the Commission, Sprint continues to discredit cable DOCSIS services as an alternative to incumbent carrier special access services.

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AT&T Statement on U.S. Court of Appeals Net Neutrality Decision

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 14, 2016 at 11:04 am

The following may be attributed to David McAtee, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel:

“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal.”

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AT&T Statement on Bogus
Set-Top Box Privacy Complaint

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 9, 2016 at 12:14 pm

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“AT&T’s use of anonymous and aggregate set-top box information is entirely consistent with the statute. Our disclosures tell our customers exactly how we use that data and provide tools for customers to opt out.  Frankly, this complaint is bogus, and seems mainly designed to distract the public from the overwhelming bipartisan opposition to the FCC’s controversial set-top box plan.  That plan itself will erode existing consumer privacy protections, not to mention its many other harms.  Because the plan’s few remaining supporters have no answer to that charge, they’ve decided to invent a false privacy claim.  This smacks of desperation, and it also carries the whiff of hypocrisy.  It’s further proof, if any is needed, that the plan’s supporters have lost the public policy debate on this issue.”

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