AT&T Response to FCC Staff Report

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:  

We expected that the AT&T-T-Mobile transaction would receive careful, considered, and fair analysis.   Unfortunately, the preliminary FCC Staff Analysis offers none of that.  The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.

In our view, the report raises questions as to whether its authors were predisposed.  The report cherry-picks facts to support its views, and ignores facts that don’t.  Where facts were lacking, the report speculates, with no basis, and then treats its own speculations as if they were fact.  This is clearly not the fair and objective analysis to which any party is entitled, and which we have every right to expect. 

All any company can properly ask when they present a matter to the government is a fair hearing and objective treatment based on factual findings.  The FCC’s report makes clear that neither occurred on our merger, at least within the pages of this report.  This has not been our past experience with the agency, which lets us hope for and expect better in the future.  Here are examples of what we are describing: 

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Supporting Free Expression . . .
As Long As We Agree with You

Posted by: Joan Marsh on November 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

Media Access Project, or MAP, fashions itself a “non-profit law firm and advocacy organization” that works on behalf of the public “to promote freedom of expression.”  Indeed, one of MAP’s primary objectives is to protect the public’s First Amendment rights by ensuring “universal and equitable access to media outlets.” 

But apparently those rights extend only to speakers with whom MAP agrees. 

In yet another ironic twist in a deal that has been rife with them, MAP has now sent a letter to local broadcast station WUSA-9 to ask the station to “cease running commercials sponsored by AT&T relating to its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile.”  In short, MAP takes issue with the content of our ads, so they are asking a local broadcaster to censor them. 

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Ready, Fire…But No Real Aim

Posted by: Joan Marsh on October 27, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Yesterday, we were the recipient of another Public Knowledge nasty-gram.  You know the drill.  PK latches onto some straight-forward fact, misrepresents it to some extreme and lashes out with a press release or blog containing reckless and unfounded allegations.  

In this case, Public Knowledge is spinning AT&T’s attempt to sell its WCS C and D block spectrum licenses, which PK alleged was hypocritical and borderline sinister.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on the irony of this allegation.  PK has for months accused us of hoarding spectrum, and now they are indignant and outraged that we are trying to . . . (dramatic pause, insert snippet from Psycho soundtrack) . . . sell spectrum.  Even inside the beltway, that dog don’t woof. 

But more disturbing is how the allegation lays bare just how unknowledgeable Public Knowledge is about spectrum and wireless network deployments – that and how willing it is to mislead.  Let’s consider some basic facts about the WCS C and D blocks (which you won’t find in PK’s press release).  

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VoIP Confusion

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on September 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Reactions to the submission of the ABC Plan and the announcement of the unprecedented joint framework for reform have been overwhelmingly positive. I think it’s fair to say that virtually everyone agrees with the premises that we must transform universal service into a program focused on broadband, not POTS (plain old telephone service), and we must, at the same time, reform intercarrier compensation in a measured way that addresses arbitrage and reduces reliance on implicit subsidies. The ABC Plan accomplishes both objectives.

Nonetheless, some parties have raised concerns about certain components of the plan. One issue that has drawn some criticism is the plan’s proposal for the treatment of traffic exchanged between telecom carriers that originates and/or terminates with a VoIP user. – The plan proposes that such traffic be treated like other traffic exchanged between telecom carriers, except that intrastate access charges would not be applied.

Click here to read more.

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The Power to Password Protect

Posted by: Bob Quinn on August 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Once upon a time, with the increasing popularity of talking on the go, AT&T made it easier for our wireless subscribers to get access to their cell phone voicemail boxes without having to use their password when they were calling the mailbox from their mobile device.  For folks who do a lot of talking while traveling, that option proved safe and certainly more convenient (no entering four or more numbers into the telephone) for our users. 

However, given the advent and, unfortunately, the wide availability of sophisticated telephone number spoofing technology that allows people to “fake” the telephone number they are calling from, we are moving in a new direction.  We have long encouraged our subscribers who might have concerns about voicemail privacy to establish passwords and to set their voicemail preferences to require the use of a password whenever voicemail is accessed. 

Beginning today, however, we will automatically set the default voicemail setting to Password Protect on any new subscriber or new line added to an existing account.  In addition, beginning in early 2012, we will set the default voicemail setting to Password Protect anytime you upgrade or change your handset.  That means whenever you get a new device, you will be required to set a password and use it unless you affirmatively turn the feature off. 

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