AT&T Response to Wireless Bureau’s Review of Sponsored Data Programs

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“It remains unclear why the Wireless Bureau continues to question the value of giving consumers the ability to watch video without incurring any data charges. This practice, which has been embraced by AT&T and other broadband providers, has enabled millions of consumers to enjoy the latest popular content and services – for free.  We hope the government continues to support a competitive marketplace that lowers costs and increases choice for consumers.”

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AT&T Responds, Again, to Wireless Bureau’s Sponsored Data Inquiry

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“As we explain (again) in the response provided to the Wireless Bureau today, the video entertainment marketplace is ripe for disruptive change, which is exactly why consumers have enthusiastically embraced Data Free TV in all its competitive forms. That enthusiasm has caused competitors to react with additional consumer-friendly video offerings, like the T-Mobile offer announced today. And although the Commission has decided to apply Title II to broadband services, the Wireless Bureau’s analysis of AT&T’s sponsored data platform abandons decades of Title II jurisprudence to raise questions about a service that undeniably increases choice and lowers costs for video consumers. This is exactly the type of pro-consumer benefit that the DirecTV acquisition was designed to achieve.

“We also note that the concerns being raised are not those of the FCC – which would require that the Commissioners be given an opportunity to consider the analysis – but rather those solely of the Bureau Staff. As we explain in the filing today, Bureau Staff lacks the authority to take action on a matter presenting new or novel questions of law or policy – something this inquiry indisputably does given that the Internet conduct standard at issue here prescribes no clear rules of any kind, and the Bureau’s novel interpretation of that provision guts decades of regulatory and competition policy precedent.”

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AT&T Statement on Announcement FCC Chairman Wheeler will Step Down in January

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm

The following may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“It would be disingenuous to suggest that we did not have significant differences with the direction the FCC took under Chairman Wheeler.  However, Chairman Wheeler has been a respected leader in the video and wireless industries for over 30 years with many accomplishments. Following that illustrious career, and when most people would have hung up their spikes, he chose to enter public service where he was a dedicated and tireless advocate. We wish him and Carol happiness and health in the future.”

 

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TOPICS: FCC
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AT&T Applauds the Selection of Congressman Walden to Chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 2, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Yesterday, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) was selected to chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President of Federal Relations:

“AT&T applauds the selection of Congressman Walden to Chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  He has played a critical role in shaping our nation’s telecom and technology polices to the tremendous benefit of consumers and the economy. We look forward to continuing to work with him and the full Committee on legislation that encourages investment and enables our industry to be a global leader in bringing new and innovative technologies to market.”

 

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TOPICS: Broadband, Congress
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Making Access to Broadband
A Reality for Low-Income Americans

Posted by: Joan Marsh on November 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm

AT&T has long supported universal access to broadband for all Americans.  And through our Access from AT&T low cost broadband program, we are making broadband a reality for low-income consumers for $10 a month or less.  We believe that, at this time, Access from AT&T is a better way for AT&T to address broadband adoption than by participating in the new Lifeline broadband program.  So, today, we are notifying the FCC that we are “opting-in” to the forbearance granted in the Commission’s 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order.

AT&T has consistently supported including broadband in the Lifeline program.  And we still do. Broadband is unquestionably the service that must be universally available to all Americans.   But the structure and administration of the Lifeline program itself needed major modernization before it could be relied upon as an agent of change.  Our support for comprehensive reform of the federal Lifeline program included proposals on consumer empowerment and eliminating the inefficient service provider role in administration of the Lifeline program.  Recognizing this, the FCC adopted important process reforms at the same time that it updated the program to cover broadband.  Chief among these was the decision to take service providers out of the role of determining eligibility and administering other program rules by establishing a new National Eligibility Verifier, which will be run by the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC).

The problem is, while the new Lifeline broadband requirements for service providers take effect in a little over a week, the National Eligibility Verifier will not be fully implemented until 2019.  In the interim, service providers are left carrying the same administrative load and compliance risks they had before the reform.  AT&T wireline currently has less than 3% of the voice Lifeline market.  Accepting the forbearance means we still have the option to offer Lifeline discounts on broadband.  But it makes little sense to spend resources on implementation of soon-to-be-replaced administrative rules for a new service when we are already offering low-income consumers a better deal through our Access from AT&T program.

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