AT&T Statement on Rosenworcel,
Pai FCC Nominations

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 1, 2011 at 11:35 am

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

“I want to congratulate Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai for their White House nominations to become FCC Commissioners. We have had the pleasure of working with both nominees in the past and they possess the experience, expertise and enthusiasm for public service that will serve them well as they navigate today’s communications policy challenges. We look forward to working with them at the agency once they are confirmed by the Senate. 

“Both nominees will have large shoes to fill at the FCC.  The announcement last night reminds us all that Commissioner Copps’ long, distinguished tenure at the FCC is coming to an end. We have climbed many hills with Commissioner Copps as he likes to say.  Personally and professionally, I always enjoyed the candid dialog and friendship with the Commissioner and the great people with whom he surrounded himself.”

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Bringing Accessible
Technologies into the Cloud

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

As National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) comes to a close, we had the pleasure to attend the FCC Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility event last Friday in Washington.  Awards were presented for developments in mainstream or assistive technologies, standards and best practices.   

Due to the hard work by our AT&T Labs colleagues (we mean you, Jay Wilpon, Amanda Stent, Thomas Okken and Giuseppe Di Fabbrizio!) in the area of speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, we were honored to receive the Chairman’s Lifted by the Cloud award for the AT&T Speech Mashup.  And we were further humbled and proud to receive an honorable mention for the Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility. 

It was also an honor to be among such an inspiring group of award recipients, which were selected by staff of the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I Initiative). We have been thoroughly impressed and encouraged by the other accessible technologies and services that have been highlighted throughout the nomination process.     

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AT&T on FCC’s USF/ICC Order

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Washington, DC –The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted an Order to reform the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Inter-Carrier Compensation (ICC) rules for the broadband era. You may attribute the following statement to AT&T’s Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory & Chief Privacy Officer Bob Quinn:  

“The FCC today took an important step in transforming the concept of universal service.  By redefining the 21st century basic service, which all Americans should have access to, as broadband instead of traditional voice, the FCC has recognized the fundamental technological transformation that has occurred across the globe over the past fifteen years.  Many Commissions have attempted to solve this seemingly insoluble problem without success.  Managing all of the moving industry pieces has been compared to trying to change a tire on a car racing down the highway.  This historic achievement could not have occurred without the leadership of Chairman Genachowski, and the commitment of Commissioners Clyburn, McDowell and Copps to work together and to find a path forward. 

“While no one can say that it is thrilled with all aspects of what the FCC did today, we are cognizant that we shouldn’t lose sight of the forest – the significance of what this decision means to all Americans – through the trees.  In the future, the basic level of service that United States policy will encourage and fund will be broadband and not simply voice service.  This is a significant achievement worthy of congratulations and its impact on all Americans should not be minimized.  With that said, we look forward to carefully reviewing the details of the FCC’s order before we can fully understand all of its implications.”

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Ready, Fire…But No Real Aim

Posted by: Joan Marsh on October 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Yesterday, we were the recipient of another Public Knowledge nasty-gram.  You know the drill.  PK latches onto some straight-forward fact, misrepresents it to some extreme and lashes out with a press release or blog containing reckless and unfounded allegations.  

In this case, Public Knowledge is spinning AT&T’s attempt to sell its WCS C and D block spectrum licenses, which PK alleged was hypocritical and borderline sinister.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on the irony of this allegation.  PK has for months accused us of hoarding spectrum, and now they are indignant and outraged that we are trying to . . . (dramatic pause, insert snippet from Psycho soundtrack) . . . sell spectrum.  Even inside the beltway, that dog don’t woof. 

But more disturbing is how the allegation lays bare just how unknowledgeable Public Knowledge is about spectrum and wireless network deployments – that and how willing it is to mislead.  Let’s consider some basic facts about the WCS C and D blocks (which you won’t find in PK’s press release).  

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Comcast and the Throes of Addiction

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on October 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It’s time to chalk up another victim to the addictive qualities of access charges.  

For more than a decade, cable companies have fought vigorously to avoid entanglement of their broadband IP networks with common carrier regulation.  Now, for less than a penny a minute, Comcast seems ready to say “the heck with all that.”  

In recent weeks, Comcast has proposed certain changes to the FCC’s rules that govern competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) access charges.  In particular, Comcast has asked the FCC to eliminate a rule that prohibits CLECs from charging for functions that they don’t actually perform.  No, that’s not a typo.  Comcast wants the FCC to allow CLECs (and this includes Comcast’s own CLEC affiliates) to charge for access services whether they provide them or not. This request is surpassingly ironic in that VoIP providers have spent much of the last 10 years insisting that they should never have to pay access charges.  Today, we filed a letter with the Commission explaining why Comcast’s proposal is not only unlawful but also unwise.

In a nutshell, Comcast wants the FCC to make a rule saying that as long as a CLEC provides the telephone number listed in the number portability database, that CLEC should be able to charge the same amount as an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) that terminates a call to an end user over its plain old telephone service (POTS) network. The implication of this proposal is that as long as a CLEC provides the telephone number, it’s safe to conclude that the CLEC provides a service equivalent to all of the other functions – and the associated costs – included in access charges. Nothing could be further from the truth.  And, here’s why.

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