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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Panel Debates Universal
Service for Broadband

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

By Joel Lubin, AT&T Vice President of Public Policy

Last Wednesday, the Congressional Internet Caucus sponsored a panel discussion on the key hurdle to bringing broadband to all Americans – universal service and intercarrier compensation reform.  If you weren’t able to make the Congressional event you missed a riveting discussion (and no, we’re not being facetious).

In a packed room at the Capitol, some of the key players in the debate gathered to discuss the FCC’s proposals to bring the telephone subsidy programs into the broadband era. For your viewing pleasure, here are some of the highlights of the hour and a half debate…..

John Jones of Century Link kicks off the discussion highlighting where the sparks really fly in this debate:

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The Grand Slam of Wrong

Posted by: Bob Quinn on February 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

So, yesterday afternoon, Level 3 filed a three-page, single spaced letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski explaining to him that he didn’t really mean that the Comcast/Level 3 dispute is not covered by the FCC’s recently announced net neutrality rules and the press got it wrong.

To do that, Level 3 set forth, in quotes, its version of the exchange between Congresswoman Blackburn and Chairman Genachowski and then dissected each word to conclude that the Chairman had left himself enough wiggle room for people to understand that this was not a peering  dispute (wrong); that the Commission does not have the facts before it that would allow the agency to determine that this is a peering relationship (wrong again – what was in the 15 filings – yes, 15 separate filings – on this issue that Level 3 has made at the FCC if not “facts”?); that Level 3 is not asking for regulatory intervention into other services beyond the rules’ limited scope of consumer and small business broadband Internet access service (wrong a third time – Level 3 is not seeking broadband Internet access from Comcast and neither Comcast nor Level 3 is a consumer or small business); and that Level 3 is not asking for price regulation (the grand slam of wrong – Comcast wants to charge $X and Level 3 wants to pay $0.  It’s all about the rate).

Despite Level 3’s strenuous efforts to spin Chairman Genachowski’s comments, his answer to Congresswoman Blackburn’s question should have made it clear to everyone that the FCC does not plan to insert itself into what the Chairman correctly described as “a commercial dispute” between companies like Level 3 and Comcast.  

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Putting Broadband on the Map

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

By Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T Vice President of Public Policy

Last week, the FCC officially launched the secret weapon in getting us to 100% broadband, its Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) reform effort.

Coincidently, this week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released (on time and on budget) its National Broadband Map.  The map shows us the geographic areas where wireline and wireless broadband services are available, at the census block level, zooming in to get a fairly detailed look at where broadband exists and where it doesn’t.  Additionally, the NTIA map will be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding Census Block.

The bottom line is that NTIA is producing the most detailed map of broadband coverage the country has ever had.

Harold Feld over at Public Knowledge has summarized the who, what, when, where and how of the National Broadband Map, so I won’t cover the details of how we got here.  Harold also offers some opinions and predictions about how the map will be criticized in some quarters, but ultimately he concludes that the map will be useful.   

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