AT&T Statement on USF and ICC Reform

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on April 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The FCC officially began its process today to modernize its telephone subsidy programs, the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system.   The comments we filed today highlight the urgent need to update these policies if the Commission hopes to achieve its National Broadband Plan goals.  The following statement may be attributed to AT&T’s Vice-President, Federal Regulatory Hank Hultquist:    

“The overriding goal of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan – to ensure that all Americans have access to, and use, broadband services – will not be achieved unless sweeping reforms of USF and ICC are enacted.  Policymakers have long recognized that broadband is ‘the straw the stirs the drink’ for future economic growth, jobs and innovation, and is critical for improving healthcare, education and the environment.  And, to achieve these broadband goals, policies that are hindering broadband investment and adoption in rural and high-cost areas need to be reformed.   

“We all understand that communications technology is undergoing a historic transformation from narrowband Plain Old Telephone service (POTS) to broadband IP-enabled services.  Where we once bought local or long distance voice service separately, voice is now simply another app you download.  Where we once tethered a black rotary phone to a wall, we are now tethering wireless devices to go online from a laptop.  But regulatory policies and regulations have woefully lagged behind these changes, and by doing so are thwarting our country’s broadband goals. 

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AT&T Response to Hesse Remarks

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on April 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

We have great respect for Dan Hesse as an executive, but his comments today about AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile are way off base.  They’re also totally at odds with his own past statements.

As recently as last October, Mr. Hesse said the wireless industry is ‘hyper competitive‘.  The month prior, his CFO talked about how ‘tough‘ retail competition is in the wireless market, citing at least six major competitors.  In February of last year, Mr. Hesse said, “M&A is absolutely a way to get the growth in the industry, if a particular transaction makes sense for anybody.”  He went on to say, “I think consolidation will be healthy for the industry, some consolidation. It is, needless to say, very competitive.”  And in January of last year at a Citi Global Conference, Mr. Hesse said, “Well, there is no question that we have an extremely competitive wireless industry in this country and that the pricing is getting much more aggressive.” 

Given that Sprint is a major competitor to AT&T in the hyper competitive wireless market Mr. Hesse describes, no one should be surprised that they would oppose this merger.  But it is self-serving for them to argue that the highly competitive wireless market they cited only months ago is now threatened by the very type of transaction they seemed prepared to defend previously. 

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Meeting the Challenges of
The Mobile Broadband Age

Posted by: Joan Marsh on April 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

A few weeks ago, AT&T announced an agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA.  While some people were surprised by the announcement, the main reason for the deal was obvious to anyone who has been following the rapid growth of the wireless industry – we need more capacity to address the surging demand for mobile broadband.  

AT&T’s wireless broadband networks continue to carry a tremendous amount of data traffic. You’ve heard the stats: wireless data traffic on our network is up over 8000% in the last four years and we anticipate it will be 8 to 10 times greater by 2015. The surest, fastest and most efficient path by far to addressing the capacity limitations we face in the near term is to acquire T-Mobile and its highly complementary spectrum portfolio and network assets.  It was the deal hiding in plain sight.  

The result of the combination will be extraordinary: the denser network of cell sites will drive capacity improvements and speed gains; spectral efficiencies will be gained by the combinations of two 2G networks into one,  including less spectrum used for call set up and control, and more opportunities to migrate bands to support mobile broadband services. 

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AT&T on Kerry-McCain Privacy Bill

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on April 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President – Federal Relations:

“We congratulate Senators Kerry and McCain for their bi-partisan leadership in establishing a thoughtful and comprehensive legislative framework to address individual privacy in the Information Age.  In particular, we are gratified that the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 both recognizes and specifically addresses the potential for overlapping regulation of communications providers by multiple federal agencies and establishes a solution that eliminates wasteful and inefficient regulatory duplication.   We look forward to continuing to work with the bill’s sponsors and stakeholders to establish a commercial ecosystem characterized by consumer trust, a level playing field for all players and a growth engine for jobs.”

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AT&T on FCC Data Roaming Mandate

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on April 7, 2011 at 12:24 pm

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

“Roaming agreements for both voice and data are in place throughout the country, and were reached through normal commercial negotiations.  The evidence presented in this proceeding demonstrated conclusively that proponents of a roaming mandate were seeking government intervention, not to obtain agreements – which are plentiful – but rather to regulate rates downward.  While we will thoroughly review today’s order, we continue to believe that a data roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment and build out of broadband facilities for both those seeking regulated roaming rates and those forced to wholesale facilities at those rates.”

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