Taking the Pledge to
Never Text and Drive

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on August 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

By Charlene Lake, AT&T Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer

Today, our Chairman, CEO and President, Randall Stephenson, unveiled new initiatives around AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, our nationwide effort to educate Americans on the dangers of texting while driving.  We’re calling on people across the country to go to www.itcanwait.com to take a pledge and make a lifelong commitment to never text and drive.  We hope to get as many people as possible to take the pledge – and encourage others to do the same – by September 19th, for “No Text On Board – Pledge Day”.  

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have been incredible leaders in bringing distracted driving to the forefront, not only in Washington but in schools and homes across the country.  On the heels of their joint partnership, we officially launched our “It Can Wait” campaign in March 2010 in an effort to do our part to address this dangerous, and often deadly, national epidemic.  It has been a privilege for our company to work closely with Secretary LaHood and Chairman Genachowski, as well as their staffs, over the years.  And their support for our distracted driving initiatives has been invaluable.  We look forward to continuing to support the Administration’s efforts and to collaborate when possible.  

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Unlocking Our Nation’s
Spectrum Resources

Posted by: Joan Marsh on August 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Last Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski weighed in on the appropriate spectrum policy for the country and got it absolutely correct.  The Chairman made clear he still favors clearing spectrum for auction, where appropriate, while we also explore new sharing ideas that have been developed.   He correctly noted that it’s not “an either/or choice” – we will likely need to rely on both models to unlock the full value of our nation’s scarce spectrum resources. 

We agree and support the FCC’s direction on spectrum policy.  The Commission has long led the way in acknowledging the spectrum challenges our nation faces.  The National Broadband Plan was the first major policy document to recognize the need to allocate significant new bands for commercial use – and the dire consequences if its goal of an additional 500 MHz of spectrum wasn’t met.  The FCC has also demonstrated the will to address barriers to efficient spectrum use, as evidenced in its ongoing efforts to rationalize for mobile broadband use the MSS S-band and the currently under-utilized WCS band.  

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The Power of Licensed Spectrum

Posted by: Joan Marsh on August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, recently released a Report on “Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth.”  The recommendations contained in the Report were driven by the fact that mobile data volumes continue to grow at an astounding pace, and that responding to this demand curve is vital to continued U.S. economic growth, competitiveness and technology leadership.  On these points, we fully agree – there are few issues as pressing for the telecommunications industry as freeing up additional spectrum resources to meet demand and foster sustained economic growth in the wireless sector.

The Report’s core recommendations, however, have generated significant controversy.  The Report found that the new norm for spectrum use should be sharing, not exclusive licensing.  While we agree that sharing paradigms should be explored as another option for spectrum management, sharing technologies have been long promised but remain largely unproven.  The over-eager pursuit of unlicensed sharing models cannot turn a blind eye on the model proven to deliver investment, innovation, and jobs – exclusive licensing.  Industry and government alike must continue with the hard work of clearing and licensing under-utilized government spectrum where feasible.

On that point, we were heartened by statements made by Tom Power, White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications, in the days following the Report, clarifying that the Administration has not given up on making parts of 1755-1850 MHz, which he called “this most appealing of spectrum,” available for exclusive commercial use.  As reported by Communications Daily, Mr. Power noted that NTIA has concluded that there are significant opportunities for clearing in that band within the next five years.  We were also happy to hear Mr. Power recommit to the Administration’s goal of reallocating a full 500 MHz of additional spectrum for commercial mobile use.

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Protecting Privacy in a Mobile World

Posted by: Bob Quinn on July 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

On Friday, we filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on privacy issues in today’s mobile world.  In May, the Commission put out a public notice seeking information on the measures wireless service providers take to protect customers’ information on mobile devices. As the Commission acknowledges, the wireless marketplace today is a far cry from what it was five years ago when the agency last looked into this area.
In addition to wireless service providers, the whole wireless ecosystem has evolved to include device manufacturers, OS and social networking platform providers, search engines and browsers, and application developers – all of whom play critical roles in protecting the privacy and security of consumers’ personal information.
Think about the extraordinary range of services available to consumers on their mobile device these days, including talking on the phone, sending e-mails and text messages, a dizzying array of apps, posting on their favorite social networking site, surfing the Internet to see what their favorite bloggers have to say, tweeting or following their friends’ tweets, watching videos, listening to music, seeing what great restaurants are nearby, getting directions on a map to that new boutique your friend just tweeted on, sharing and storing photos, and much more.

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Coming Soon: Telecom’s
1.5Mbps Bridge to Nowhere

Posted by: Bob Quinn on July 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

Tuesday’s House Oversight Hearing with the FCC Commissioners highlighted once again the ongoing debate on the special access issue.  As a refresher, special access services are really not-so-special in today’s Internet age.  These services are generally legacy copper, TDM technology circuits – 95% of which deliver data at 1.5 Mbps, a speed that doesn’t even qualify as “broadband” in the FCC’s latest overhaul of universal service. 

As we have previously pointed out, rather than focus on yesterday’s technology, the FCC should instead be creating a path to transition these legacy services to fiber-based technologies that deliver world-leading broadband speeds to all consumers.  If we focus our policy efforts there, we will speed the deployment of new infrastructure (and new infrastructure investment) as well as create jobs, not only in building that infrastructure and selling IP hardware and equipment, but also by bringing more communities the benefits of being connected to the Global Internet – all goals that have wide, bi-partisan support.

At the hearing, Chairman Genachowski made a few things relatively clear.  

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