Posted by: Joan Marsh on January 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In the midst of a prolonged and deep national recession, the U.S. wireless industry has generated billions of dollars of investment capital, produced millions of jobs, and spawned a breathtaking array of innovative new consumer products and services. This wireless success story is due in no small measure to the Commission’s longstanding recognition that a light touch approach to wireless regulation best promotes competition, innovation and investment.
Not surprisingly, however, some wireless providers urge the Commission to abandon that approach in favor of blatantly skewed spectrum policies that are designed to tip the competitive scales in their own favor. For example, Sprint/Clearwire, which controls double the spectrum of any other carrier, contends that most of its own spectrum should continue to be excluded from the spectrum screen, while much of the spectrum held by Verizon and AT&T should be double-counted. T-Mobile, which chose to sit out the Commission’s 700 MHz auction entirely and to forego low band secondary market spectrum opportunities, now wants the Commission to adopt spectrum rules designed to guarantee its ability to catch up on the cheap. And the Rural Telecommunications Group (“RTG”) has asked for spectrum caps so draconian they would require AT&T and Verizon to undertake immediate divestitures – unless, of course, AT&T and Verizon “volunteer” to be yoked with RTG’s entire wish list of regulatory obligations that have no connection whatsoever to spectrum policy.
None of these proposals has the slightest merit. For example, while Sprint and Clearwire weakly argue that the bulk of Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum should continue to be excluded from the spectrum screen, these arguments are flatly inconsistent with these carriers’ claims regarding the value and utility of its spectrum in every venue but the FCC. And, even more importantly, they cannot be reconciled with the undeniable reality that the spectrum they want to exclude from the screen is today being used for mobile broadband services. Indeed, Sprint has made quite clear that it is buying the rest of Clearwire “to maximize the value of Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum and use it to increase Sprint’s network capacity.” These are inconvenient facts for Sprint and Clearwire which they blithely ignore in their comments.
Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on January 2, 2013 at 11:41 am
The U.S. Senate approved the reappointment of Mignon L. Clyburn to be FCC Commissioner. The following statement may be attributed to AT&T’s Senior Vice-President, Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer Bob Quinn:
“We are pleased that the U.S. Senate approved Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve another term at the FCC. Her dedication to public service, her independence, and her experience and knowledge will be instrumental if we are to bring the benefits of 21st century Internet broadband services to more Americans.
“As the Commission faces the challenges ahead, we look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Clyburn to create smart and effective policies that spur more investment in communities across our country, and the resulting benefits that flow to consumers.”
Posted by: Frank Simone on December 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm
Today, USTelecom filed a petition requesting that the FCC declare that traditional phone companies no longer possess market power when providing switched access services, or more plainly, “plain old telephone service” (POTS), and therefore are no longer subject to dominant carrier regulation under the Commission’s rules. Given the many ways all of us communicate with each other these days this seems pretty obvious, but let’s review some of things that have brought us to this point.
The changes occurring in the communications landscape over the past several decades have forever changed the way we reach out and touch someone. For those of us with children, the changes are apparent every time we examine our “telephone” bill, and a quick review of mine over the last six months starkly illustrates the point. Each month on my mobile phone account, my unused AT&T “roll over” voice minutes grow as voice calling becomes a smaller and smaller portion of the communications options my family uses. Thousands of incoming and outgoing mobile text messaging details, most of which are associated with my children’s phones, fill the majority of the call details outlined on my bill. The ratio of text messages to voice minutes for my children is three to one. Interestingly, almost exactly the reverse is true for my wife and me. And what is missing from my home phone and mobile phone bills is as profound as what is included. Missing are the hundreds of voice minutes that have been replaced by email threads, tweets and status updates on social networking websites.
And despite the obvious shift observable in our children, you would be wrong to think the communications shift is limited to those born after AT&T was split into “Baby Bells” in 1984. The very first “baby boomers,” born in 1946, are also switching from landlines to new technologies. Fifty-three percent of Americans aged 65 and over use the Internet and email, and 31% of Americans aged 55 to 64 use smartphones.