AT&T Statement on U.S. Court of Appeals Net Neutrality Decision

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on June 14, 2016 at 11:04 am

The following may be attributed to David McAtee, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel:

“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal.”

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AT&T Statement on
Netflix CFO Remarks

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 4, 2015 at 8:03 pm

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

“Netflix has spun a lot of tales during this FCC proceeding.  But it’s awfully hard to believe their CFO would go into a major investor conference and misspeak on an issue supposedly so crucial to their future.  More likely he had an attack of candor.  At least ’til his company’s lobbyists got hold of him.  I’m sure they’ll also have some terrific spin to explain Netflix’s data cap deal in Australia.”

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Thoughts on Today’s Vote

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on February 26, 2015 at 11:52 am

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 and a philosophy of government’s proper role.  But a democracy cannot function when either side lapses into rigidity.  Or worse, when political advantage becomes more important than the nation’s best interest.

In our little world, and in my decades of interaction with it, I’ve felt, and still feel, that the FCC has tried to stay focused on solving problems and avoided turning issues into dogma.  Every chairman in my memory, including the current one, has faced political stampedes of one sort or another.  Yet the agency has always tried to find a middle ground and a consensus win.  They’ve understood that a win, unlike a fight, is the product of reaching out to both sides, and working in a bipartisan way to find a solution.  A win is the product of compromise, thoughtful policy, and a genuine desire to find the answer to a complex set of issues.

We had such a situation – and a bipartisan win – in the 2010 net neutrality rule.  Unfortunately, this was undone by a court decision, facing us with the same situation a second time.  Today, an Administration and an FCC that appeared headed toward another bipartisan win on net neutrality were driven instead to a partisan fight.  The 3-2 FCC vote, along party lines, for sweeping new regulation of the Internet, is a rejection of the compromise win and an embrace, however reluctant, of the political fight. It’s unfortunate that this single issue, more than any other, has over the course of ten years caused a divisive spirit to spread to an agency that has long sought unanimity on significant long term issues, and generally found it.  A 5-0 decision doesn’t leave a lot of room for either side to continue the argument, while a 3-2 decision, particularly on issues of such broad scope, is an invitation to revisiting the decision, over and over and over.

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AT&T Statement re: President Obama’s Plan for the Government to Regulate the Internet

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on November 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President, External & Legislative Affairs:

“Today’s announcement by the White House, if acted upon by the FCC, would be a mistake that will do tremendous harm to the Internet and to U.S. national interests.  It is a complete reversal of a bipartisan policy that has been in place since the Clinton Administration—namely, to treat Internet access as an information service subject to light-touch regulation.  This classification of Internet service has been upheld by the Supreme Court and has enjoyed strong Congressional support for nearly a generation.  Now, with one statement, the White House is telling the FCC to ignore this precedent and to instead impose on the entire Internet—from end to end— onerous government regulation designed in the 1930s for a Bell phone monopoly that no longer exists, not for a 21st century technology.  This will have a negative impact not only on investment and innovation, but also on our economy overall.

“For a generation, the Internet has been an American success story.  Light-touch regulation has encouraged levels of investment unprecedented by any industry and spawned incredible innovation.  Today’s action puts all of that at risk – and puts it at risk not to remedy any specific harm that has occurred.  Instead, this action is designed to deal with a hypothetical problem posed by certain political groups whose objective all along has been to bring about government control of the Internet.  The White House is proposing to put the Internet and our economy at risk as a result of such political pressures.

“We feel the actions called for by the White House are inconsistent with decades of legal precedent as well as Congressional intent.  Moreover, if the government were going to make such a momentous decision as regulating the entire Internet like a public utility, that decision is more properly made by the Congress and not by unelected regulators without any public record to support the change in regulation.  If the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”

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AT&T’s Cicconi on Net Neutrality
Before Congressional Hearing

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology today held a hearing on H.J. Res 37, disapproving of the FCC’s net neutrality order, which the Commission adopted in December.  Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, delivered the following statement:

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, Chairman Upton, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Barton, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of my company, AT&T.  I recognize it is unusual to be asked to testify on a resolution on which we’ve not taken a position.  However, as I’m sure all of you know, we have been involved for years in the issue that underlies H.J. Res. 37, and that is the protracted dispute over net neutrality regulation by the FCC.

Let me first stress that AT&T has long supported the “broadband principles” laid out by the FCC six years ago.  We support an open Internet, and have promised to abide by that concept.  But like many issues that start from a shared belief, this one quickly devolved into a long and contentious debate over specifics:  whether the FCC should be able to enforce the broadband principles; whether a broad set of rules was needed; what legal authority the FCC has to put any such rules in place.  And all of this despite any real evidence of a problem.

As in most regulatory debates, this one has not lacked for radical voices.  Many sought heavy-handed government regulation and control of free markets… some for commercial advantage, others to advance their own ideology.   Since this debate began back in 2005, AT&T has consistently opposed any FCC regulation of Internet services or facilities.  This is still our strong preference today.  We feel the antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Act, and the discipline of highly competitive markets are more than adequate to police any potential abuses. 

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