Spectrum Auctions and
Lessons Learned

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

As reported in today’s Communications Daily, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt concedes Commission mistakes in the spectrum auction that involved NextWave, yet he is still pushing for FCC discretion in future spectrum auctions.  The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs:

“As Reed admits, Congress gave the FCC discretion in the PCS C Block auction, and it used that discretion in a way that resulted in an auction that was a disaster for the industry and for the Treasury.  And the flaw, in our view, was not simply a function of installment payments.  It was the decision to have a closed versus an open auction.  Our point is that an auction should be open to all competitors, not just to those hand picked by the FCC.  Reed was a good and diligent chairman, and it’s characteristic of him that he’d acknowledge a mistake.  But Congress has every right to learn from those mistakes, and to insist the FCC not repeat them.  That’s what the House spectrum bill does.  The FCC should get behind it and put the interests of the country first so that we can quickly move forward to address the looming spectrum crisis that we all agree is the biggest threat to innovation, job creation and growth for the wireless industry.”

Read More

AT&T Response to Former FCC Chair’s
Remarks on Spectrum Auctions

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, responds to comments made by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt regarding spectrum auctions:

“Despite Reed Hundt’s recollection, the FCC’s track record on auctions is not an unbroken string of successes.  In fact, Hundt’s tenure saw perhaps the biggest single fiasco of this sort, the PCS C Block auction.  In that situation, the FCC used its discretion in a way that set aside valuable spectrum for ‘designated entities’, and excluded otherwise qualified companies from bidding.  Over half of the 493 licenses from that auction were later returned to the government for non-payment, and the licenses of the largest winner, NextWave, were tied up in bankruptcy litigation for years.  In that case, the FCC’s use of its ‘discretion’ ended up costing the U.S. Treasury billions, and left vitally needed spectrum unused for years.   

“No one is suggesting the FCC’s conduct of auctions be micro-managed.  But Congress – not the FCC – sets policy, especially when it directly impacts revenue needed for deficit reduction.  And there is no more fundamental policy point than whether a spectrum auction should be open or closed.  Congress has every right to tell the FCC it should not be picking winners and losers in the wireless market, or using its ‘discretion’ to tilt the playing field. We need open auctions where every competitor has a fair chance to participate, and that is what the House bill provides.”

Read More

What a Difference a Day Makes

Posted by: Bob Quinn on January 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

The business, education and advocacy communities have joined forces to observe Data Privacy Day tomorrow.  In the past several days, programs have been held around to world to raise awareness about privacy issues.  We at AT&T were delighted to take part by sponsoring and participating in a National Cyber Security Alliance forum, which was held yesterday in Washington. 

As AT&T’s Chief Privacy Officer, every day is privacy day for me and my  team  It’s a topic we’re thinking about, talking about and acting upon on an ongoing basis. We work hard to anticipate and prepare for developments in the constantly changing world of privacy.  Recently, for example, we have been focusing on instilling best privacy practices in our work with apps developers and online behavioral advertising.

At AT&T, we’ve long recognized that our privacy commitments are fundamental to the way we do business every day.

Read More

The Value of Universal Design

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

By Len Cali, AT&T Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy 

Did you know that one quarter of the U.S. population consists of people who are elderly, have a disability, or both?  And 30% of households in this country have a family member with a disability.  With our aging population, roughly 10,000 people turn 65 every day.  And this trend is expected to continue for the next two decades.  Think about that.  This is a significant number of Americans whose appetite for mobile broadband technologies is just as voracious as the rest of the population. 

This week, I had the privilege of delivering a keynote address at the M-Enabling Summit held here in Washington D.C.  This was the first industry event dedicated exclusively to exploring accessible and assistive mobile platforms to better serve seniors and persons with disabilities.  

Our philosophy at AT&T has always been to design products and services that benefit as many people as possible.  And our Universal Design policy provides our suppliers and internal stakeholders with a clear set of guidelines that enable us to bring accessible products and services to the marketplace.  

Read More

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: 

Read More