AT&T Statement on FCC’s
Text-to-911 FNPRM

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Please attribute the following to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:

“The FCC’s action today to take further comment on text-to-911 is an important first step towards addressing how public safety obligations will be melded into new and emerging communications technologies. These new services are replacing the POTS services consumers have used for the last century.  As this transition continues, the Commission must establish a framework that ensures that consumers can continue to reach emergency services when necessary.  Suggestions that the FCC can achieve that goal by imposing public safety obligations only on legacy network technologies or services ignore the reality of the breadth by which consumers are adopting these new technologies. 

“Simplicity and common sense should be the guiding lights of this framework.  When a child uses a messaging icon on their smartphone in an emergency, parents want that child to reach 911 no matter what service or technology is associated with that icon.  Too much is at stake.  Any public safety solution that does not encompass all texting services will result in potentially deadly customer confusion. 

“We appreciate the Commission’s willingness to attack this challenge in a comprehensive manner.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission, the public safety community and the disability community, to ensure that, as we transition to the next generation of communications, the ability to reach public safety will remain at the forefront of our policies.”

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s Technology
Transitions Policy Task Force

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Attribute the following to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:

“Today’s announcement by the FCC to appoint a Technology Task Force to modernize its rules for the transition of traditionally regulated services to applications that ride on an IP broadband infrastructure is welcome news.  As AT&T pointed out in our recent filing, that transition is well underway with more than 70% of consumers having already migrated away from POTS service.  Addressing these issues in a comprehensive process that crosses the smoke-stacked bureau structure that is a remnant of an almost eight decades old telecom law is critically important.  The Task Force created today by the Commission seems like a logical step towards that comprehensive process.  We look forward to working with the FCC and others to ensure we have the right policies in place to promote investment in 21st century communications infrastructure.”

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AT&T Statement on Voluntary
Text-to-911 Agreement

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Attribute the following to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:

“At AT&T, the safety of our customers is a top priority.  We are in the process of launching a standards-based trial service for text-to-911 in the state of Tennessee and expect industry standards to be finalized in early 2013.  The voluntary framework that was proposed yesterday builds on industry work already underway towards achieving a comprehensive framework for our customers to be able to use text messaging services to communicate with 911 emergency responders.  But this capability needs to be in place for all text messaging services.  The last thing you want in an emergency situation is for the consumer to have to figure out which of the various text messaging services on your Smartphone are capable of actually transmitting a 911 communication. Any solution that is not comprehensive will result in potentially harmful customer confusion.  The carrier community, through this agreement with public safety, has taken a step forward here, but more work remains.  We appreciate the Commission’s willingness to attack this challenge in a comprehensive manner and look forward to continuing to work with the Commission, as well as our partners in the public safety community and the disability community, to complete this necessary journey.”

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The Power of Licensed Spectrum

Posted by: Joan Marsh on August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST, recently released a Report on “Realizing the Full Potential of Government-Held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth.”  The recommendations contained in the Report were driven by the fact that mobile data volumes continue to grow at an astounding pace, and that responding to this demand curve is vital to continued U.S. economic growth, competitiveness and technology leadership.  On these points, we fully agree – there are few issues as pressing for the telecommunications industry as freeing up additional spectrum resources to meet demand and foster sustained economic growth in the wireless sector.

The Report’s core recommendations, however, have generated significant controversy.  The Report found that the new norm for spectrum use should be sharing, not exclusive licensing.  While we agree that sharing paradigms should be explored as another option for spectrum management, sharing technologies have been long promised but remain largely unproven.  The over-eager pursuit of unlicensed sharing models cannot turn a blind eye on the model proven to deliver investment, innovation, and jobs – exclusive licensing.  Industry and government alike must continue with the hard work of clearing and licensing under-utilized government spectrum where feasible.

On that point, we were heartened by statements made by Tom Power, White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications, in the days following the Report, clarifying that the Administration has not given up on making parts of 1755-1850 MHz, which he called “this most appealing of spectrum,” available for exclusive commercial use.  As reported by Communications Daily, Mr. Power noted that NTIA has concluded that there are significant opportunities for clearing in that band within the next five years.  We were also happy to hear Mr. Power recommit to the Administration’s goal of reallocating a full 500 MHz of additional spectrum for commercial mobile use.

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AT&T Statement on PCAST
Government Spectrum Report

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on July 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Washington, D.C. – The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) today released a report on government-held spectrum.  The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“While we are still reviewing the PCAST report, we are encouraged by the sustained interest in exploring ways to free up underutilized government spectrum for mobile Internet use.  However, we are concerned with the report’s primary conclusion that ‘the norm for spectrum use should be sharing, not exclusivity.’  The report fails to recognize the benefits of exclusive use licenses, which are well known.  Those licenses enabled the creation of the mobile Internet and all of the ensuing innovation, investment and job creation that followed.

“While we should be considering all options to meet the country’s spectrum goals, including the sharing of federal spectrum with government users, it is imperative that we clear and reallocate government spectrum where practical.  We fully support the NTIA effort of determining which government bands can be cleared for commercial use, and we look forward to continuing to work with NTIA and other stakeholders to make more spectrum available for American consumers and businesses.”

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