Lifeline is Headed in the Right Direction (We Hope)

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

The effort to modernize the troubled Lifeline program appears to be moving in the right direction.  AT&T has long supported the need to fix the program’s glaring administrative problems while allowing Lifeline eligible consumers to use their $9.25 discount on Internet access services. Last week, the FCC’s fact sheet outlined plans for a National Eligibility…

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Of Double Standards And Situational Policy

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

After weeks of spin denying that his set top box proposal would create a black hole for privacy protections, the FCC Chairman now tells us not to worry because he will insist that Google “voluntarily” commit to the same privacy protections to which the rest of us are bound by FCC rules. This astounding statement…

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A 21st Century Safety Net

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee will convene a hearing on the future of the FCC’s Lifeline program.  Given the recent GAO report on the program and the FCC report on the broadband Lifeline trial, some folks might argue that Lifeline is irreversibly broken and incapable of accomplishing any credible goals.  While I would agree that…

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Thoughts on Today’s Vote

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

Perhaps I’m betraying my years, but in Washington policy circles there has always been tension between those interested in solving problems and those who see policy disputes as a test of ideology.  I’d readily admit falling into the former camp, and have the policy scars to prove it.  To be sure, one must have principles…

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A Most Unusual Deal

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

While the comment period on our merger with DIRECTV won’t close until November 5th, the recent round of filings allows us to take stock of where this deal stands in terms of both support and opposition.  And I’d have to say that, so far, we’re very encouraged. As my fellow telecom policy nerds know, the…

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Net Neutrality and Modern Memory

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

I saw last month’s House Commerce hearing with Chairman Wheeler and was struck once again by the animated discussion revolving around “paid prioritization,” “fast lanes/slow lanes,” and Section 706 authority versus Title II regulation.  The debate feels a bit like the movie Groundhog Day… we’ve all been here before.  And just as in 2010, there…

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Who Should Pay for Netflix?

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

I saw Reed Hastings’ blog yesterday from Netflix asserting in rather dramatic fashion (with diagrams) that ISPs should build facilities (he said provide, but those facilities have to be built) to accept all of Netflix’s content – indeed all of the content on the Internet – without charge.  Failure to do so, according to Mr. Hastings,…

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The FCC Decides to Lead on IP

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

The FCC today made a bold leap forward on the path to a modern 21st Century broadband world by agreeing to oversee industry-wide geographic trials.  These trials will convert legacy Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) networks to an all-IP broadband architecture.  While couched in the terms of telecom arcana, this decision is important and profound.  All…

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AT&T Statement on FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Move to Begin IP Trials

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is directing the FCC staff to draft an order commencing geographic trials for the transition from aging communication platforms and services to new services based fully on Internet Protocol (“IP”). The following statement may be attributed to AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Jim Cicconi: “We…

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A Word about Chairwoman Clyburn

by Jim Cicconi

Former AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, Retired September 2016

There’s a lot of excitement today about a new FCC Chairman being sworn in, and rightly so. But there’s a unique Washington aspect to such occasions: I learned long ago that this town pays a lot more attention to the new arrivals than it does the recently departed. So, in the spirit of the day,…

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