AT&T on Industry ‘911’ Location Accuracy Consensus Plan

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm

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

“AT&T is proud to be part of the ‘911’ Consensus Plan filed today.  We have long relied on expertise from APCO and NENA to lead the way on 911 issues, and believe the robust framework filed today will respond to public safety’s call for more accurate location information, particularly for calls originating indoors.  The framework seeks to leverage indoor location technologies increasingly available for commercial applications to deliver to first responders a ‘dispatchable’ location for indoor 911 calls – a unique civic address, including critical apartment, floor or suite information.  This approach improves on current technology as well as the solutions proposed by certain vendors that provide only a rough approximation of a caller’s location, a result that is far short of the dispatchable address that first responders need and the public deserves.

“APCO and NENA should be applauded for their continued leadership in this area and we look forward to working with the Commission on implementing the next generation of location solutions.”

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AT&T Commends FCC’s Changes to 800 MHz Licensing, PSD Rules

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

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

“We commend the FCC for modernizing and streamlining the cellular licensing rules by transitioning from site-by-site to geographic area licensing. The site-by-site cellular licensing regime was put in place more than 30 years ago. By its actions yesterday, the FCC ensures that services in the 800 MHz band will be more aligned with the other commercial wireless mobile services, which are licensed on a geographic basis. In addition, the FCC order will lessen the administrative and paperwork burden on both licensees and Commission staff. We also look forward to prompt action on the companion notice regarding rule changes to allow the use of power spectral density (PSD) to measure power in the cellular band — changes that are urgently needed to support the continuing deployment of LTE services throughout the country.”

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AT&T Statement re: President Obama’s Plan for the Government to Regulate the Internet

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

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

“Today’s announcement by the White House, if acted upon by the FCC, would be a mistake that will do tremendous harm to the Internet and to U.S. national interests.  It is a complete reversal of a bipartisan policy that has been in place since the Clinton Administration—namely, to treat Internet access as an information service subject to light-touch regulation.  This classification of Internet service has been upheld by the Supreme Court and has enjoyed strong Congressional support for nearly a generation.  Now, with one statement, the White House is telling the FCC to ignore this precedent and to instead impose on the entire Internet—from end to end— onerous government regulation designed in the 1930s for a Bell phone monopoly that no longer exists, not for a 21st century technology.  This will have a negative impact not only on investment and innovation, but also on our economy overall.

“For a generation, the Internet has been an American success story.  Light-touch regulation has encouraged levels of investment unprecedented by any industry and spawned incredible innovation.  Today’s action puts all of that at risk – and puts it at risk not to remedy any specific harm that has occurred.  Instead, this action is designed to deal with a hypothetical problem posed by certain political groups whose objective all along has been to bring about government control of the Internet.  The White House is proposing to put the Internet and our economy at risk as a result of such political pressures.

“We feel the actions called for by the White House are inconsistent with decades of legal precedent as well as Congressional intent.  Moreover, if the government were going to make such a momentous decision as regulating the entire Internet like a public utility, that decision is more properly made by the Congress and not by unelected regulators without any public record to support the change in regulation.  If the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”

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Investing in Regulation
Rather than Networks

Posted by: Joan Marsh on October 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

In the last couple weeks, in a series of meetings with the FCC, T-Mobile continued its on-going campaign for rate regulation of roaming services.  T-Mobile frames its argument as a request for clarification. But make no mistake – T-Mobile is not seeking a clarification of the Commission’s 2011 Data Roaming Rules.  It is instead seeking radical changes in those rules that would gut the balance the FCC struck between ensuring the availability of commercially reasonable data roaming services while maintaining incentives for carriers to build out their networks.

AT&T’s previously filed opposition demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the data roaming market is functioning well.  AT&T alone has successfully negotiated more than 30 data roaming agreements since the release of the data roaming order, eight of which are LTE roaming agreements, including some with carriers that have not yet deployed LTE networks but wanted the surety of a commercial agreement on which to plan their LTE deployments.  Indeed, T-Mobile’s own petition demonstrates that the market is working as it details the recent dramatic declines in the data roaming rates T-Mobile is paying.

Those declines include very marked declines in the rate T-Mobile is paying to AT&T.   That rate is more than 70% lower than it was just three years ago, and it compares favorably with the rates T-Mobile claims it pays other providers.  In fact, the rate T-Mobile pays AT&T is lower than the average rate paid by AT&T:  AT&T currently pays an average roaming rate that is higher than the 30 cents T-Mobile reports that it paid to other providers in 2013 (and significantly higher than the 18 cents T-Mobile projects it will pay in 2014). 

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A Most Unusual Deal

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on October 22, 2014 at 10:15 am

While the comment period on our merger with DIRECTV won’t close until November 5th, the recent round of filings allows us to take stock of where this deal stands in terms of both support and opposition.  And I’d have to say that, so far, we’re very encouraged.

As my fellow telecom policy nerds know, the FCC process requires us to show that the combination of DIRECTV with AT&T is in the public interest.  We’ve taken this obligation very seriously.  In fact, well before the deal was announced, we began analyzing those benefits, building them into the decision about whether to go forward with the transaction.  That in itself may be unusual for a merger.

Now, as we review the filings, it’s great to see so many citing the positive impact those benefits will have for their business, community, state, members, or constituency.  The FCC filings to date show that support for this merger is both deep and broad, and seems to fall into a number of categories:

Labor

Normally, one of the first concerns with any merger is the impact on jobs.   In this case, organized labor has clearly concluded this merger is good for workers.  No less a source than AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka wrote that the merger was not only good for workers, but would also benefit consumers because it “will result in increased competition.”  Our largest union, the CWA, echoed this view as did 12 state AFL-CIOs , three state building and construction trade union affiliates, as well as the Minnesota SEIU. It’s hard to recall any merger ever getting such strong support from organized labor.

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