Should Cisco Be Censured for its CRS-3 Innovation?

Posted by: Rich Clarke on March 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

The last several years must have been very frustrating for the technology policy counselors at groups like the New America Foundation.  One of the main theses animating their continued recommendations for greater government regulation of the Internet is that the privately-owned IP networks that constitute the Internet will choose to starve it of transmission capacity in hopes of creating artificial scarcity and driving up its price.  But as each year has passed, more customers have chosen to connect to the Internet; customers have increased greatly their monthly usage of Internet bandwidth; and broadband providers have expanded the capacity of their IP networks to meet these burgeoning demands.

While most people would look at this and say “wow, the Internet market is working just as it should,” you might be less enthusiastic if your public policy advocacy for increased government regulation was based on a prediction that the opposite should be occurring.

So perhaps it was this frustration that caused James Losey of the New America Foundation to complain about Cisco’s announcement of a new router (the CRS‑3) with triple the capacity of its current flagship model (the CRS‑1).  Rather than celebrating this advancement in IP transmission technology, Losey was reported to have had a sour grapes reaction that this development was simply “Cisco…looking for ways a service provider can sell the same amount of bandwidth to more consumers, and often at a higher cost.”

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“Never Waste a Good Crisis”

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” famous words from Rahm Emanuel early in the Obama Administration. Emanuel’s point was that a crisis is an opportunity to do things you thought you couldn’t do before and, at a recent education summit, Maine Governor John Baldacci quoted Emanuel in reference to our educational system, especially as it relates to high-risk minority youth.  Obviously this Administration takes this issue very seriously and by looking at the number of high level officials who participated, they more than proved that commitment.  The Departments of Labor and Education are fully committed to working with education experts and private industry to move this country’s education in the right direction.

Baldacci, board chair of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), spoke to more than 100 representatives from government, education and corporate America who were assembled for a Thought Leader summit to address at both the state and federal level: How to take strategies proven to work for high-risk minority youth to scale through policy and funding.

The statistics are staggering:

Nearly half of all African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans in public school will not graduate with their class. Among the developed countries, the U.S. ranks 18th in high school graduation rates and 15th in college graduation rates.

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Who is Going Mobile…

Posted by: Chris Boyer on March 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

A couple of weeks ago, AT&T had the privilege of hosting U.S. Ambassador Melanne Verveer, her staff and several other technology companies as part of the European American Business Council’s (EABC) Silicon Valley Forum.  At the gathering, we discussed how technology, and specifically mobile services, could be used to empower women and girls worldwide.

A focal point of our discussions was a report issued last month by GSMA and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women entitled ‘Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity.’  The report “attempts to understand the nature of women mobile subscribers in low and middle-income countries such as Kenya and India, and highlights the barriers facing women’s adoption of mobile technologies.  It also shows that, by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.”

Looking through the report, a few stats really jumped out at me.  There are some 300 million fewer female subscribers than male subscribers worldwide; 85% of women report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone; and 41% of women report having increased income and professional opportunities once they own a phone.

And in one of those happy coincidences, earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced Global Pulse 2010, a three-day, online collaboration event, designed to foster dialogue with the international community.  One of the 10 topics for discussion is the issue of empowering women and girls worldwide.  Mark your calendars for March 29-31 so we all can engage with and learn from one another to empower wives, daughters and sisters of the worldwide community to reach their full potential.

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Broadband and People with Disabilities

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm

By Susan Mazrui, AT&T Director of Public Policy

Today, the Silicon Flatirons Center, in conjunction with the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and the Federal Communications Commission hosted a conference on “The National Broadband Plan and Accessibility for People with Disabilities.”  It brought together all parties concerned – government, industry, and people with disabilities – to advance our common goal of bringing broadband to all Americans, including people with disabilities in the context of the National Broadband Plan.

I was pleased to have been invited, on behalf of AT&T, to make a presentation at this conference.   We look forward to a series of stimulating discussions in the areas of access to broadband and legal and regulatory issues surrounding broadband deployment.  AT&T’s comments in the FCC’s proceeding on the National Broadband Plan contained a series of strong recommendations for ensuring access to broadband for people with disabilities.

We have consistently taken the position that the unique and common needs of people with disabilities must be addressed as the nation moves toward the goal of 100% broadband adoption.  Technological innovation has a critical part to play in this effort, and companies like AT&T must – and do – take a leadership role in supporting accessible design, offering products and services to meet the needs and desires of people with disabilities, as well as promoting Universal Design, both internally and by encouraging our vendors to adopt similar policies.

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A Primer on Pumping

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on March 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I’ve long thought that I could write a book about various absurdities associated with intercarrier compensation. But, as my wife has pointed out to me (repeatedly), there are no more than a couple of dozen people who would be interested in reading such a book. Since they’re probably the same couple of dozen people who read this blog, I figure I can skip writing the book and inflict my intercarrier musings on you via the blog. The topic for today is traffic pumping. Or, as it is known in more polite company, access stimulation.

I know the 24 of you will be busy this week reading Congressional responses from up to 24 companies that are due today to Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher and Rep. Bart Stupak.

Traffic pumping arises from the confluence of several peculiar features of intercarrier compensation.  At the heart of these is the authority possessed by local exchange carriers (LECs) to file a document called a “tariff” with the FCC and, once it “takes effect,” start sending bills to any entity that terminates traffic to the particular LEC. Experience shows that this authority to file tariffs, which is granted by FCC rules, may be the closest thing yet to an actual license to print money. And therein lies the problem. It turns out that if you had such a license, you might be tempted to print as much as you possibly could, irrespective of the consequences for everyone else.

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