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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Bringing Healthcare
Into a 4G LTE World

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

By Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T Vice President of Public Policy and Deputy Chief Privacy Officer

A recent AT&T television spot shows a video diagnosis between a patient in an ambulance and an emergency room doctor over a mobile tablet device.  It’s a powerful example of how broadband technology enables cutting-edge health care solutions.  After participating in a recent seminar on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Institute for e-Health Policy, I walked away further convinced that continued broadband build out, including the expanded next-generation mobile broadband network that will be enabled by the AT&T and T-Mobile combination, will promote e-Health initiatives nationwide. 

One of the key takeaways from this seminar is the trend of e-Health toward mobile devices, which enable medical information to be shared quickly and securely.  The challenge is to provide customers with a full range of high quality e-Health offerings.  Not only do customers desire High-Definition video conferencing with doctors, but they also want low-cost, ubiquitous, mobile services, like apps that help monitor and control chronic conditions and wireless-enabled devices to remotely monitor patient biometrics in the home and on-the-go.  AT&T’s challenge is building an intelligent and secure broadband network that meets all of these needs. 

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The Facts that Matter
On Jobs and Diversity

Posted by: Joan Marsh on July 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

In a blog posting last week, Public Knowledge attempted to mount an attack on AT&T on two fronts:  jobs and diversity.  Faced with the unpleasant reality that those whose very mission is to promote and protect those agendas – labor unions and civil rights organizations – have enthusiastically endorsed the AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger, PK patronizingly dismisses their advocacy as misinformed, going so far as to accuse them of “blindly follow[ing] AT&T off of a cliff.”  But ironically, even as PK arrogantly discredits those who support the merger, its analysis is cluttered with misinformation and irrelevancies.  

For example, PK, using testimony from a state hearing, asserts that, since 2004, AT&T reduced its workforce by 40% in California while its access line loss was under 9% nationally.  Had PK bothered to check the facts it would have learned that AT&T lost over 11% of its total switched access lines last year alone, with an 11.2% access line loss in 2009 as well.  Indeed, over the past 9 years, AT&T has lost a full half of its access lines.  Yet from 2006 to 2010, AT&T employee headcount decreased by only approximately 12%.  So, far from cutting jobs at a rate that exceeds its access line losses, AT&T has lost access lines at a rate that far exceeds its headcount decreases.  

PK also conveniently ignores the significant investment that will be necessary to expand our LTE network to reach over 97% of all Americans.  That investment will create jobs, and will have job-creating ripple effects throughout the economy, particularly in rural areas.  Recognizing these important ripple effects, the CWA commissioned a study that found that the transaction will create as many as 96,000 new, quality jobs, while accelerating broadband build out and improving wireless communications.  

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