Another Significant
Step Forward for BITAG

Posted by: Brent Olson on October 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Today, Dale Hatfield announced another significant milestone for the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).  For the acronym junkies, you’ll want to know that after careful debate and deliberation, befitting a room of technical experts and engineers, the group agreed that the preferred pronunciation would be Bee Tag – perhaps a harbinger of the group’s collaborative spirit and out-of-the-box thinking to resolve thorny problems in an amicable way.

More importantly, for a consensus-building organization, the group has finalized its structure, and its operational and membership guidelines.

This is truly a first-of-its-kind entity and, while no doubt everyone involved is taking a bit of a leap of faith, speaking for AT&T, we are truly excited to be a part of this effort from the ground floor.  One thing we can probably all agree on is that broadband and Internet policy issues should begin with a strong foundation in and understanding of the underlying technology, given its inherent complexity and dynamic nature.  This is not to say that technology should be the sole determinant in making Internet policy, but it is generally safe to say that any policy decision made without the benefit of understanding how the technology works is likely doomed to fail and probably not without first doing some serious damage.  

Read More

Game-Changing Solutions
For Small Businesses‪

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on October 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

By Cathy Martine, AT&T EVP-Small Business Solutions & Alternate Channels

Last week, President Obama signed the monumental Small Business Jobs Act, a major victory for small businesses that will help them to expand their businesses and create jobs–something sorely needed in these tough economic times.   AT&T sees this bill as a positive step for small businesses because of the tax relief it provides and simplified tax deductions for cell phones for small businesses.  Specifically, the Act removes wireless devices from the IRS’ listed property rules, which should make it easier for businesses to purchase cell phones for employee use.   That’s great news for businesses that are looking for ways to cut costs and run more efficiently. ‪

We recognize the importance of small businesses and we’re ready to support them. In fact, on the heels of this significant new law, we’re proud to announce that AT&T Capital Services, our financing subsidiary, is starting a new program to provide capital loans to small businesses that are aiming to deploy new wireless solutions or upgrade existing services.   I made the announcement last week at the annual conference for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in Washington, D.C.  

Read More

AT&T Statement Regarding
Open Internet Legislation

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on September 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

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

“After months of hard work, we were pleased to reach an agreement with Chairmen Waxman and Boucher on compromise legislation that would ensure the openness of the Internet while protecting investment – all without new, intrusive FCC regulation. While we are disappointed that it was not possible to introduce a bill with bipartisan support, we are mindful that these issues are important and complex, and that there was insufficient time to consider and act on our efforts. We are pleased that ranking members Barton and Stearns remain open to Congressional action on this issue, and pledge to work closely with them toward that end.

“This agreement demonstrates that when all parties act in good faith, and resist extreme voices, it is indeed possible to find a reasonable middle ground on the net neutrality issue.  We remain convinced that the proper course is for Congress to decide the scope of authority it wishes the FCC to have in this area. And we remain equally convinced that the regulatory overreach being urged on the FCC by some is a major mistake that would adversely impact jobs and investment, and would likely be overturned in court.”

Read More

AT&T Statement on the Equal Access
To 21st Century Communications Act

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on September 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Background: Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act. The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President of Federal Relations:

“AT&T is pleased with the passage of the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act, which will greatly enhance the lives of people with disabilities by increasing access to advanced technologies and services.  We applaud Senator Pryor and Congressman Markey for shepherding this critical legislation through Congress.

“AT&T works closely with and supports the disability community on several fronts, including through the AT&T Advisory Panel on Access & Aging and through our efforts to promote the application of universal design principles in the development of new communications services.”

Read More

It Takes a Village

Posted by: Chris Boyer on September 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Cybersecurity.  Cyberwarfare.  Cyber criminals. The words alone are unnerving and the issues they raise are challenging and deeply complex.  I’ve been working in this area for a while now and I’m still amazed by its ever-changing landscape.  Protecting our nation’s networks is critical and a top priority for network operators as well as regulators and lawmakers.  But the entire Internet ecosystem – and that includes applications, devices and users – play integral roles in effective cybersecurity.  Indeed, it takes a village.

As we approach Cybersecurity Awareness Month, you’ll be hearing a great deal more about the issue, from the government, industry, consumer groups and others.

At AT&T, cybersecurity is something we think about 24/7.  So, I thought today that I would highlight recent comments we filed on the matter with both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  I’ll try not to get too far in the weeds but I want to draw attention to some important issues policymakers are grappling with and the potential effects they could have in this very sensitive area.

We agree with the cyber attack finding in this IBM report that the primary vulnerabilities occur at the software, application, device and user layers. And according to a study conducted by Verizon, 87% of data breaches were considered avoidable through the use of reasonable controls.

Cyber criminals are increasingly exploiting user carelessness and naïveté.  One of the top ten security threat trends for 2010 identified by Symantec was the use of social engineering.  Attackers are going directly after the end user and attempting to trick them into downloading malware or divulging sensitive information.  And the challenges are complicated by the evolving nature of cyber threats.  

Read More