The D.C. Circuit’s decision to vacate the FCC’s Comcast-BitTorrent order has a lot of people chattering, including a University of Michigan Law School professor, about how the FCC should “reclassify” broadband as a “Title II” service. The belief is that such a move is necessary to either (a) extract the FCC from an “existential crisis,” or (b) free the FCC’s National Broadband Plan from “legal limbo.” The FCC’s top lawyer has fueled the chatter with a blog post, questioning its authority on a variety of issues, in light of the court decision.
I’m not going to bore you with our view of why classifying broadband as Title II is a mistake. Instead, I’m going to bore you with a brief history of broadband classifications and the mythology that has sprung up around them.
Some believe, incorrectly, that broadband Internet access used to live under the watchful eye of a wise and beneficent FCC. In this latter-day Eden, the FCC regulated broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II. But then the FCC was tempted into taking a bite out of the Title I apple, and pretty soon they had eaten the whole thing.
Leading the effort is SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” which is working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to grow one million small businesses through the use of advanced services.
This morning, at an event in Washington, D.C., I joined FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, SCORE CEO Ken Yancy and other technology companies to kick off the SCORE Public/Private Broadband Consortium. With the help of donations from its founding partners, like us, the consortium’s focus will be to increase e-commerce capabilities for small businesses through improved training, digital literacy, and online tools. For AT&T, this is part of our continuing effort to provide small business owners with cutting-edge services and the tools and support they need to be successful.
Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion on the Comcast v. FCC case. The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:
“AT&T made a commitment to abide by the FCC’s Open Internet Principles when they were first formulated in 2005, and we will continue to do so. Those facts have not been changed by today’s action by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. AT&T supports an open Internet. That is what our customers count on us to deliver, and we will not disappoint them.
Moreover, the FCC’s Open Internet Principles work. In the nearly five years since these Principles were put in place, the FCC has encountered only one serious complaint, and even in that case, which was before the court today, the company took steps to address the complaint long before the FCC ruled.
What is IPEC? The IPEC is a relatively newly-created White House position charged with formulating a new 21st Century Intellectual Property enforcement structure. One of the issues raised by this proceeding is the appropriate role of ISPs in helping to deter online copyright infringement. Our position on this question is relatively simple and straightforward, representing a fair balance of all stakeholder interests – Internet users, copyright holders, ISPs, the government and the overarching public interest.
Authored By Xavier Williams, AT&T Senior Vice President of Government, Education & Medical (GEM) Markets
I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to support an array of public sector clients over the past few years including federal agencies, state and local governments, colleges, and state and local school districts. From this vantage point I am very proud to see firsthand how AT&T is addressing two of our country’s most important national challenges: creating jobs and helping to connect every American to broadband-based Internet service. That is the feeling I came away with after participating earlier today with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in an economic forum sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and recently reviewing the FCC’s new National Broadband Plan.
When I couple these activities with the DLC study on the relationship between jobs and capital investment, it confirms for me that AT&T and the Information Communications Technology sector as a whole can deliver the investment and innovation to create new lines of business, new sources of jobs, and new ways to meet critical national challenges. At AT&T, we heartily agree with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s assessment that universal broadband networks “can be America’s engine for enduring job creation, economic growth and tremendous improvements and savings in education, health care and energy conservation.” AT&T also agrees with the DLC’s findings that creating jobs depends on business investment, and that broadband, wireless infrastructure, and information technology are great places to invest.
So, I am encouraged that over the past three years, AT&T has invested a total of $55 billion in our networks, and will invest up to $19 billion more this year. That investment translates into jobs at AT&T across all of our lines of business. The mix of employment is changing as our business evolves, but we remain a leading source of high-quality, tech jobs right here in America. And, much of our investment is directed to the small businesses that typically lead in job creation. During 2009, AT&T added $9.5 billion to the bottom line of small business, including a large number of minority-run enterprises and companies headed by women and service-disabled veterans.