AT&T Statement on Bipartisan Spectrum and FCC Reform Legislation

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Today, the Energy & Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3674, the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act and H.R. 3675, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act.  The following statement may be attributed to AT&T’s Executive Vice President-Federal Relations Tim McKone:

“I want to applaud Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden and Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman and Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo for their leadership in moving these important pieces of legislation.”

“I also want to applaud Reps. Brett Guthrie and Doris Matsui for bringing creative solutions to our nation’s spectrum policy.  We believe the legislation, while not practical for all government agencies, provides a workable alternative to those agencies that have stopped using or have found alternative systems for their wireless communications needs.  The approaching spectrum crunch calls for unique proposals like this and others that will provide federal agencies the funding they need to research and develop new techniques and systems that will allow the agency to perform their mission. This bill’s approach directly incents agencies to clear spectrum for commercial auction, which will ultimately translate into economic growth, and, importantly, provide consumers with new and innovative mobile Internet services.”

“The FCC process reform bill modernizes FCC practices and procedures.  These much needed institutional reforms will help arm the agency with the tools to keep pace with the Internet speed of today’s marketplace.  It will also ensure that outmoded regulatory practices for today’s competitive marketplace are properly placed in the dustbin of history.” 

 “We look forward to working with Congress, the FCC, and all stakeholders to ensure the Federal Spectrum Incentive Act and the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act move forward to fruition.”

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Facts About Low Band
Spectrum Holdings

Posted by: Joan Marsh on December 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

In an op ed last week, CCA again called for auction limits to “prevent the two dominant wireless carriers from blocking competitors’ access to low-frequency spectrum.”  The problem, according to CCA, is that AT&T and Verizon control a significant portfolio of low band spectrum.  CCA also alleges we were “handed” our 850 MHz allocations “free of charge” (despite the fact that the vast majority of our current 850 MHz licenses were acquired for significant value on the secondary market). 
 
Finally, CCA alleges that we “want to keep other cellphone carriers (including, presumably, CCA members) from getting access” to low band allocations.  CCA specifically identifies three member companies – Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cellular One – that “are anxious to further expand in rural America, and they need low-frequency spectrum to do so.”
 
As with so many arguments in the high band/low band spectrum debate, these arguments are made without much reliance on facts.  So, let’s look at some relevant facts, starting with the three member companies CCA identifies in support of their argument:

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s
Incentive Auction Schedule

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“The 600 MHz incentive auction is by far the most complex auction proceeding ever undertaken anywhere in the world.  The Commission must persuade two different sets of auction bidders to participate in two separate but inter-related auctions.  While those auctions proceed, the Commission must conduct a dynamic repacking analysis that protects and repacks the broadcasters that remain. 

“The enormous complexity of this task cannot be overstated.  While AT&T is eager to see new spectrum allocations brought to market as soon as practical, we appreciate the enormity of the task the Commission faces and believe that it is essential that time be taken to get it right.  The schedule the Chairman announced today to develop a robust policy and systems framework for the auction is both prudent and reasonable and AT&T looks forward to continuing to work with the FCC on this important proceeding.”

 

 

 

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AT&T Response to Chairman Walden and Chairman Upton’s Announcement to Update the Communications Act

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

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

“We applaud Chairman Walden and Chairman Upton for taking this critical step to ensure America’s telecommunications laws are aligned with the explosion of new technologies and expanding consumer needs. Their decision recognizes that current laws are woefully outdated, that they fail to provide the level playing field needed by competing services and technologies, and that they have become an impediment to investment and economic growth. 

“We look forward to working constructively with the Chairmen and the Congress on this exciting challenge.”

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TOPICS: Congress, FCC
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The End of the Beginning of the IP Transition

Posted by: Bob Quinn on November 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Much has been written over the 12 months that have passed since AT&T filed its request for the Federal Communications Commission to oversee trials to facilitate the industry’s continued transition from aging communication platforms and services to new services based fully on Internet Protocol (“IP”). One important highlight in all that has been written is the vast number of customers, both business and residential, that already have made the transition. But to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, this is not the end of the transition, it is not even the beginning of the end of the transition, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of the transition.

We have been very clear about our efforts to transform our network to one that is all Internet Protocol (IP). Our request for the Commission to oversee trials came on the same day we announced Project Velocity IP, a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment plan to accelerate the historic national transition to all-IP networks and services, and we announced in our Annual Report that we expect to have fully transitioned our customers from decades-old technologies to an all-Internet Protocol network architecture by 2020.

The National Broadband Plan recognizes this transition as one that will bring “extraordinary opportunities to improve American life and benefit consumers” and the Commission’s efforts since the plan was published have set as an “express goal” facilitating the transition from traditional, TDM-based networks to all-IP networks and services. We all know, however, that while setting a worthwhile goal is important, executing a plan to achieve that goal is where much of the hard work takes place. As we approach the end of the beginning of the IP transition AT&T has begun the hard work of executing such a plan.

The first step of that plan is to align the commitments we make to our customers with the goal of transitioning to an all-IP network. That is why today we have taken a step to make sure that multi-year commitments we enter into today for aging TDM-based services reflect the on-going transition to IP and do not extend beyond the expected completion of our transition in 2020. Taking this step ensures we keep the commitments we enter into with our customers. In industry jargon, we are “grandfathering” these longer term plans for TDM-based services (i.e., allow those that have it to keep it but not enter in to new long term plans for these services).

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