The following may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:
“We applaud House and Senate negotiators for doing something truly important to our Nation – successfully crafting major spectrum legislation. Our company has been working on this with key leaders in both chambers for over a year, and the members involved should be proud of what they’ve achieved. In particular, we are pleased that despite opposing voices, the legislation will not only free up more spectrum, but will finally provide public safety with the spectrum it needs to do its vital work. Access to more spectrum will also help AT&T continue to create more jobs and support next-generation services for our customers.
“In our industry, there has been much focus in recent weeks on whether the FCC should or should not be able to exclude qualified wireless carriers from bidding in these spectrum auctions. The final legislation speaks clearly on this point: the FCC may not do so as part of any auction proceeding. Instead, it could only make such a decision through a separate public rulemaking with general industry applicability, and not through the backdoor of special auction rules. This provides procedural safeguards, and also an opportunity for a court challenge. We take the FCC Chairman at his word when he says there is no intent to have closed auctions that deny AT&T and other carriers the ability to fairly and fully participate, but we also feel it important that Congress has now made its views clear as well.
“We also want to commend Chairmen Upton and Walden for not only asserting the right of the Congress to set policy when it comes to auctions, but also for showing a willingness to deal with the FCC’s concerns about procedural flexibility in its conduct of those auctions. We believe their language strikes the right balance between all these concerns, and are pleased with the outcome, which is very significant for our industry and our country.”