Putting Control in
The Hands of Consumers

Posted by: Joan Marsh on March 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

Amidst all the net neutrality activity in Washington last week, you may not have heard about a great program Consumer Action launched on Wednesday called WirelessEd.  The program is designed to help consumers better understand and manage their wireless devices and services.  AT&T is a proud supporter of this program and we were pleased to be part of the launch event in San Francisco.

WirelessEd is a carrier-neutral, multilingual program that consists of educational brochures and training sessions to help community organizations educate their members.  The training sessions – the first of which will be held in Atlanta, Houston and San Francisco beginning in June – are expected to impact more than 200,000 consumers.

Be sure to check out WirelessEd.org, where you can access educational materials, interactive tools to calculate and track data usage, and other resources.

WirelessEd is just the latest effort AT&T has made to empower consumers with the tools they need to better control their wireless products and services.  You might remember that last fall we launched the AT&T Smart Controls website, and we think WirelessEd is a great compliment to that effort.

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AT&T’s Cicconi on Net Neutrality
Before Congressional Hearing

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology today held a hearing on H.J. Res 37, disapproving of the FCC’s net neutrality order, which the Commission adopted in December.  Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, delivered the following statement:

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, Chairman Upton, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Barton, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of my company, AT&T.  I recognize it is unusual to be asked to testify on a resolution on which we’ve not taken a position.  However, as I’m sure all of you know, we have been involved for years in the issue that underlies H.J. Res. 37, and that is the protracted dispute over net neutrality regulation by the FCC.

Let me first stress that AT&T has long supported the “broadband principles” laid out by the FCC six years ago.  We support an open Internet, and have promised to abide by that concept.  But like many issues that start from a shared belief, this one quickly devolved into a long and contentious debate over specifics:  whether the FCC should be able to enforce the broadband principles; whether a broad set of rules was needed; what legal authority the FCC has to put any such rules in place.  And all of this despite any real evidence of a problem.

As in most regulatory debates, this one has not lacked for radical voices.  Many sought heavy-handed government regulation and control of free markets… some for commercial advantage, others to advance their own ideology.   Since this debate began back in 2005, AT&T has consistently opposed any FCC regulation of Internet services or facilities.  This is still our strong preference today.  We feel the antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Act, and the discipline of highly competitive markets are more than adequate to police any potential abuses. 

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Mobile Coupons? What a Grand Idea

Posted by: Sherry Ramsey on March 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

How many times have you clipped the coupon for a three-pack of paper towels…and left it on the kitchen table as you head to the store? How many times have you decided just how you’re going to spend that $10 bonus card from a department store…and dug through your purse or wallet unsuccessfully when you stepped up to the check-out counter with that snazzy new sweater?

Well, if you’re like me, it happens a lot.  Which is why I, personally, was so excited earlier this week when we launched a handy new service called ShopAlerts.

Basically, this is how it works:  Consumers can request to receive coupons and other offers via their mobile phone when they’re near a participating store or branded product.  When you walk into a store, they’re right there, ready to be redeemed on your mobile phone.  ShopAlerts combines the magic of geo-location services to bring together shoppers’ desires and marketers’ latest offerings.  It’s pretty neat.

Not only am I excited about the shopping aspects of the service (I do enjoy indulging in a little retail therapy now and then), but I’m also proud of the privacy measures we have put in place to protect customers who sign up for this service.  

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AT&T Welcomes Levin
Proposal for Lifeline Program

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm

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

“You cannot accomplish the goal of universal broadband at the heart of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan without a robust Lifeline program to provide a safety net for those in need.  In a speech today, Blair Levin, one of the NBP’s primary authors, proposed remaking the voice-only USF Lifeline/Link-up programs into a broadband adoption program.  The proposal is worthy of a serious discussion and would fundamentally reshape how qualification is determined, add in a dimension of accountability and the manner in which the program is paid for and administered.  AT&T shares Mr. Levin’s belief in the importance of broadband adoption and the potential for a reformed Lifeline program to become part of the solution. We welcome the proposal and, more importantly, the discussion that this proposal should generate.”

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Closing the Gap on Tribal Lands

Posted by: Joan Marsh on March 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Tomorrow, the FCC will meet to consider three related items that focus on increasing the deployment of telecommunications services on Tribal Lands.  One of those items will specifically explore a range of recommendations to help close the wireless gap on Tribal Lands.

Wireless and broadband deployment continue to present unique challenges for many Tribal Lands in the nation.  But that is not true everywhere.  AT&T is today deploying a wireless broadband network on Tribal Lands in North Dakota, South Dakota and California and is committed to providing residents of those Native Nations with high quality wireless broadband services.

A bit of background:  On June 22, 2010, the Commission unanimously approved the transfer of licenses and authorizations to AT&T in connection with Verizon’s sale of certain Alltel assets.  In approving the license transfer, the Commission adopted a series of commitments made by AT&T to deploy wireless broadband networks and services to the acquired markets, many of which included Tribal Lands.  More specifically, AT&T dedicated a capital budget of over $400 million to upgrade the network assets throughout the acquired markets by deploying a high speed HSPA broadband network.  The FCC also specifically sought to ensure the continuity of high quality, low cost wireless services to the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which also fell within the service area of the assets acquired by AT&T.  AT&T committed to provide those services, dependent upon transfer of the appropriate eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation

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