The FCC Decides to Lead on IP

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on January 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

The FCC today made a bold leap forward on the path to a modern 21st Century broadband world by agreeing to oversee industry-wide geographic trials.  These trials will convert legacy Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) networks to an all-IP broadband architecture.  While couched in the terms of telecom arcana, this decision is important and profound.  All Americans should applaud the FCC’s action, because all Americans, and generations yet unborn, will benefit from it.

When we asked the FCC to oversee these trials almost 15 months ago, we were following the path charted by the FCC’s excellent National Broadband Plan, as well as the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (then led by current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler).  The team who authored the National Broadband Plan and the TAC both recognized that creating a path for incumbent providers to retire legacy POTS technology was a necessary step towards achieving universal broadband connectivity in the United States.  In particular, both understood that the cost of maintaining the legacy architecture, with its rapidly declining subscriber base, was unsustainable for any company, and was pulling significant dollars away from broadband investment.  That decline has only accelerated over the past fifteen months – AT&T’s consumer POTS access lines decreased from 15.7 to 12.4 million lines between 2012 and 2013, proving the truth of the FCC’s conclusions in stark numbers.

Beginning the process for achieving this transformation is overdue, and all of us should recognize the sense of urgency Chairman Wheeler and his team have brought to this issue.  They quickly recognized and credited the leadership shown many months earlier by Commissioners Rosenworcel, Pai, and Clyburn, as well as the clear public support of Commissioner O’Rielly, to build a unanimous vote for moving forward.  This is visionary both for its break with the past, its recognition of the future, and its unanimity in a time of partisan strife.  Maybe I’ve been in this town too long, but once upon a time we all had a term for this.  We called it leadership.

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s Text-to-911
Policy Statement and NG911 Proposed Rulemaking

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:

“Today’s action by the FCC is an important step in the Commission’s and the industry’s ongoing efforts to enable consumers to reach ‘911’ emergency personnel through text messaging no matter the underlying service or technology. Since joining our fellow carriers in a voluntary commitment, AT&T has devoted countless resources to make this critical public safety function a reality. We remain committed to making text-to-911 service available on a nationwide basis by May 15 of this year.  As consumers adopt new and emerging technologies, it is critical that we maintain the ability to contact public safety.  Today’s action by the Commission reminds all service providers that public safety remains a critical value that must carry forward as communications technologies evolve.  We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that enhancements to text-to-911 are incorporated into Next Generation 911 services and that we move forward with Next Generation 911 as quickly as we possibly can.”

 

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AT&T Statement on the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit Open Internet Decision

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

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

“AT&T has been committed to the open Internet since our endorsement of the FCC’s statement of Internet freedoms in 2004. We worked constructively to help craft the FCC’s net neutrality rule, and testified in support of it in the Congress. As the FCC assesses the impact of today’s court decision, AT&T can assure all of our customers and stakeholders that our commitment to protect and maintain an open Internet will not change.”

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TOPICS: FCC, Net Neutrality
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AT&T Statement on the Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 9, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced the Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President-Federal Relations:

“We commend Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Ranking Member Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp for their efforts to introduce a bipartisan bill that will update and renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). We believe the passing of this legislation will align 21st century trade agreements with 21st century TPA rules.

“Taking this critical step forward will strengthen our U.S trade policy to ensure new trade agreements provide us with the opportunity to further U.S. economic growth and investment. We look forward to working with the Congress and the Administration in order to advance U.S. trade agreements, as it will ultimately create new growth opportunities for the U.S economy.”

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AT&T Update on Government Surveillance Position

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The following statement should be attributed to Wayne Watts, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel:

The debate about government surveillance programs and striking the right balance between protecting personal privacy and providing national security is a healthy one. It’s important that policymakers worldwide get it right so that people can continue to enjoy the benefits of technology and communications with confidence.

When it comes to governmental surveillance and requests for customer information, all companies are compelled to comply with the laws of the country in which they operate. Those laws not only govern what companies must do when they receive lawful government requests, but often limit what companies can say publicly about the requests. But here is what we can say:

 

  • Protecting our customers’ information and privacy is paramount. Everywhere we operate, we go to great lengths to make sure our customers’ data is safe and secure. And we do so in compliance with the laws of the country where the service is provided.
  • When we receive a government request for customer information, whether it’s a court order, a subpoena, or other method, we ensure that the request and our response are completely lawful and proper in that country.
  •  We work hard to make sure that the requests or orders are valid and that our response to them is lawful. We’ve challenged court orders, subpoenas and other requests from local, state and federal governmental entities – and will continue to do so, if we believe they are unlawful.
  •  We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network to gather, review or retrieve our customers’ information.
  • We only provide wireless customer location data in response to a court order except in the rare cases in which an emergency compels us to do so. Examples include when law enforcement enlists us to locate a missing child or a kidnapping suspect, and they provide us assurance that a real emergency affecting human life exists.

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