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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

15 Days…

Posted by: Bob Quinn on March 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan is due to Congress in 15 days. FCC watchers have already begun reading the tea leaves, deciphering the policy gestures, and peddling narratives of industry winners and losers.  Before we do the same, let’s first review how we got here.

When Congress passed “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” it set an ambitious objective for the nation: ubiquitous broadband for “all people of the United States.”  And, Congress asked the FCC to chart that course by developing the National Broadband Plan.

In developing its plan, the FCC has taken its responsibility very seriously, conducting a transparent process, offering creative and flexible engagement with all, and welcoming public input and participation.  Chairman Genachowski should be commended for his willingness to tackle the issue of 100 percent broadband head on and making it a top priority of his chairmanship.

Read More

A Small Bit on Broadband

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on February 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm

There was a lot of activity this week surrounding the FCC’s broadband plan.  FCC Chairman Genachowski has been very busy, but he found time last night to accept the prestigious Newt Minow Award at the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center must have been hopping last night as there was also a ballet performance of The Great Gatsby.  I was at neither event unfortunately, but I do want to take a minute today to remark on one of the Chairman’s announcements this week.

It is encouraging that Chairman Genachowski has identified spectrum availability as a major near-term challenge.  He’s absolutely right, and should be commended for his willingness to tackle the issue head on and make it a top priority of his chairmanship. At AT&T, we are already dealing with phenomenal increases in mobile data use — a whopping 5,000 percent over the last three years. Such usage patterns cannot be sustained without bold action to address the looming spectrum crunch, and that is exactly what FCC Chairman Genachowski has promised.

Read More