A New Era of Spectrum Aggregation

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

The FCC has long relied on a spectrum aggregation tool to assess any transaction where an applicant is acquiring or gaining leased rights for spectrum.  The tool, triggered when an entity’s spectrum holdings would exceed a specified level, is designed to evaluate whether any one entity’s wireless license holdings would cause competitive harm. If the…

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Understanding the Potential Cost of an Expanded Lifeline Program

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

Before the pandemic, we worried about the “the homework gap” – the learning that was missed because a growing number of teachers assigned homework that required internet access that was absent from many homes. Now, as the pandemic continues to force schools to rely heavily on remote learning, disconnected students are not just missing homework…

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The Neutrality Debate
We Need to Have

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

This Wednesday, the FCC will take comments on NTIA’s petition on reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision enacted in 1996 to address a narrow set of concerns involving nascent internet platforms that then played only a marginal role in American life.  The purpose of the provision made sense at that moment…

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We Need to Have

Making Lifeline a Snap
For Eligible Households

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

Benefit programs designed to help vulnerable populations have been improving their processes for many years through technology.  The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program replaced “food stamps” with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards in the late 1990s, providing beneficiaries broad choices in shopping and enabling them to pay with “plastic.” To add further convenience,…

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For Eligible Households

We Need to Fundamentally Rethink How USF Programs are Funded

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

As of July 1, the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution factor exceeded 26%.  In other words, for every dollar consumers and businesses spend on voice and data transport services, service providers must pay more than a quarter towards supporting USF programs, a heavy tax by any measure. The USF contribution factor has been creeping up…

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Progress on the C-Band

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

The FCC under Chairman Pai has been focused intensely on establishing and maintaining U.S. leadership in the deployment of 5G networks.   Chairman Pai’s 5G FAST Plan, which outlined a comprehensive strategy on 5G, included as a cornerstone the reallocation of essential 5G spectrum, including low-, mid- and high-band allocations. On high-band opportunities, the FCC has…

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Celebrating Hispanic Communities

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

September 15th began Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic/LatinX innovators, artists and scholars, and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. Growing up in rural Illinois, my first exposure to Hispanic influences was through the written word. Gabriel Garcia Marquez burst into my world with his lyrical, “Love in the…

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A Tribute to Jack Zinman

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

I write today to celebrate the life of a man we knew as a counselor and a colleague, a mentor and a friend and, ultimately, a brother.  For many of the years that I have had responsibility for AT&T’s regulatory interests in Washington DC, I had the great privilege of having Jack Zinman stand beside…

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Girl Power

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

I am a huge fan of Girls Who Code — an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology one girl at a time.  Each summer, AT&T hosts a GWC cohort at a number of locations across the country, including in the DC office.  And every summer I’m given the honor of spending time…

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FirstNet’s Security, Reliability
Should Not Be Sacrificed

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Regulatory & State External Affairs

The Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body recently submitted comments to the FCC seeking “clarification concerning the guidelines and requirements for interoperability and roaming between the NPSBN and commercial wireless carriers.” Colorado withdrew those comments, and for good reason – these issues have been clearly addressed.  But as FirstNet builds momentum, it may be worth…

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Should Not Be Sacrificed