AT&T Statement on FCC’s 5G
Spectrum Frontiers Report and Order

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on July 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

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

“Today, the FCC made a big down payment on the next generation of wireless innovation in the United States.  5G technologies, which will offer very low latency and gigabit speeds, will fuel a new era of investment in advanced wireless services, and the mmWave spectrum bands authorized today will serve as the launch pad for 5G development and deployment in the U.S.

“The Order, which is the result of months of advocacy, reflects regulatory compromises designed to permit new 5G services while accommodating the business plans of incumbent licensees. A careful review of the Order will be necessary to understand the balance struck between the competing interests, but we believe that the FCC’s actions today will provide the clarity needed to move forward with confidence with 5G trials and development, ensuring continued U.S. leadership in wireless innovation and services.”

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Reaching a Sound 3.5 GHz Framework

Posted by: Joan Marsh on April 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

We’ve been watching with interest as a Further Order on the 3.5 GHz band plan is being considered by the FCC’s 8th floor. The Order proposes to preserve a Priority Access License, or PALs, scheme that has been broadly rejected by almost everyone who had advocated for the PALs approach. Given this opposition, it’s hard to see why the Commission remains committed to it.  “If you build it they will come” may be a slogan that works with magical baseball fields, but it’s not going to be an effective approach here.

It’s not hard to see why wireless operators are unenthusiastic.

First, it’s far from certain that a bidder will be able to obtain a rational PALs footprint at auction.  The Commission has concluded that, to ensure auction competition, it will require multiple bidders in each license area and auction one less PAL than the total number of PALs applied for in a given census tract.  This means that if only one carrier is interested in PALs in a given license area, zero PALs will be available.  Would-be PAL licensees could therefore simply find themselves locked out from the start in many license areas.  And, as many commentators have pointed out, the N-1 requirement will effectively act to reduce the number of PALs available over time, systematically phasing out PALs with each subsequent auction.  This alone is probably sufficient to discourage meaningful interest.

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AT&T Statement on Mobile Now Act

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 3, 2016 at 2:10 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Tim McKone, AT&T Executive Vice President of Federal Relations:

“AT&T commends Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson on the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of the MOBILE NOW Act.  This bipartisan bill is a step in the right direction – ensuring more spectrum is made available for commercial use and reducing the bureaucratic red tape that often delays broadband buildout.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Chairman and the entire Committee as this bill moves forward.”

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A Note from Base Camp

Posted by: Joan Marsh on February 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

Last week while speaking at a spectrum conference, Gary Epstein, Chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force observed that progress on the incentive auction can be compared to climbing a mountain. With the rules complete and as we move toward the auction start date, the collective group of auction climbers are essentially now at base camp awaiting the final ascent to the summit, which will begin March 29.  But as everyone who has read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” knows, the ascent to the peak is one of the most dangerous parts of the climb and the descent can also be lethal.

With the quiet period about to commence, as we sit at base camp, I offer a few final thoughts on the auction.

Surely we can all agree that much has been accomplished – perhaps more than many thought possible.  The auction rules are firmly in place, the FCC has been releasing a steady stream of data file formats, applications are being filed and workshops are underway to educate auction participants. The FCC auction team has climbed tirelessly to reach this point and all the stakeholders impacted by the auction have climbed tirelessly along with them.

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Remarks of Jim Cicconi at the Emerging Issues Policy Forum: 2016 Digital Pathway Summit

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

The following are remarks of Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, as prepared for delivery at the Emerging Issues Policy Forum: 2016 Digital Pathway Summit, Amelia Island, Florida, Thursday, January 14, 2016:

Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be among so many friends.  I’d like to give you an industry perspective.  Specifically, I’d like to share a few thoughts on how investment and innovation in broadband infrastructure has brought about technological advancements and adoption faster than any technology ever.

First, a bit of historical perspective.  After Edison invented the incandescent filament light bulb, it was 46 years before electricity had been adopted by one-quarter of the US population. It took 35 years for the telephone, 31 for radio.  It was 26 years before a quarter of the country adopted television. It took 16 years for PCs, 13 years for mobile phones, 7 years for dial-up Internet and even less for broadband.  It’s staggering to think that the first iPhone was introduced on 2G technology only 8½ years ago.  The velocity of technological change is incredible.

And what does that adoption look like?

Today, a full 84% of Americans adults use the Internet, compared to just 52% in 2000. That figure is even higher when looking just at younger people: 96% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 use the Internet.

Today, 90% of U.S. households have three or more Internet-connected devices, and the average number of connected devices per household is 5.2.

In a remarkably short amount of time we have gone from the cellphone being a gimmicky toy of the rich and famous to having nine in ten Americans owning a cell phone. Even more impressive, more than two-thirds of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35% just 5 years ago.

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