AT&T's Policy Plea Muted by Shutdown

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- TIA 2013: The Future of the Network -- AT&T has invested billions in upgrading its wireless infrastructure and is prepared to spend billions more in becoming a "mobile-led, all-IP cloud, cloud-based company" by 2020, but needs to see policies from regulators that support that level of investment, Lori Lee, senior executive vice president of Home Solutions, said in a keynote address here.

But Lee's message may have echoed back at her.

Lee and other speakers had hoped to be addressing a crowd that included Washington notables, but the shut-down of the federal government had a significant impact on attendance here, and prompted cancellation of multiple speakers, including Federal Communications Commission (FCC) acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.

That left Lee and others preaching to the choir about the importance of adopting regulatory policies that recognize how the industry has changed.

For example, she noted that Skype Ltd. earlier this year hit a company record 70 million simultaneous connections, at a time when AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has 14 million access lines and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has 7 million. That's an indication that any policy focused on access lines is misplaced, Lee indicated, and shows how market power is shifting.

AT&T expects by 2020 to have completed its transformation into a mobile-led, all-IP, cloud-based company, with a network optimized for video and content hosted almost entirely in the cloud and not on devices, said Lee. At that stage of the game, customers stop caring what network they are connected to, as long as their service provider is delivering a seamless, simple, and secure service over a connection that follows them, wherever they go. In addition, "smartphones replace wallets, keys and ID cards; tablets become our mobile workspace; homes anticipate our needs; cars are connected and healthcare is more personalized and affordable," she added.

Lee highlighted the ability to make higher education more accessible and affordable, something that AT&T is doing in partnership with Georgia Tech and Udacity, which together are delivering an online program in computer science that awards an advanced degree for $6,000.

In a presentation clearly intended to show what AT&T can do if it isn't discouraged from continuing to pump billions into its networks and supporting operations and business support systems, Lee also cited benefits for government, farmers, first responders, and others, limited only by the human imagination.

Having policies that encourage investment "is important for our industry's future and critically important for growth of our economy," she concluded.

Her sign-off, though, was a message for everyone, and one, she noted, that every AT&T customer service rep and service technician delivers as well -- a reminder not to text and drive.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
KBode 10/10/2013 | 9:10:33 AM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology I do know there was a strong push afoot to sever the copper once fiber was connected, something that obviously angered CLECs sharing that copper. Repair obligations vary by state I believe. For example, Verizon's currently pushing for deregulation in Mass., in particular rules requiring they respond to repair calls in 24 hours.


See this story in the Boston Business Journal.
brookseven 10/9/2013 | 5:45:53 PM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology Carol,

I believe the answer is to your FiOS question is yes.  The thing I don't know is if Verizon is required to fix it if its broken.  They are certainly not going to maintain copper they are not using.


Carol Wilson 10/9/2013 | 4:21:31 PM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology I think U-Verse is subject to the unbundling rules -- for that matter isn't Verizon's copper network also still subject to unbundling, even where they have deployed FiOS, unless it's de-commissioned?

Carol Wilson 10/9/2013 | 4:19:36 PM
Re: Friends in High Places Well, a member of Congress and the head of the NSA did make it here today. And the debates over things like the transition to IP continue to rage on, even without the bureaucrats.
Liz Greenberg 10/9/2013 | 3:28:55 PM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology Good point @seven and I know that I don't know so I hope that somebody who has experience will weigh in.  If in fact FTTx is subject to UNE mandates one would wonder why nobody is hitching a ride with alternative services, products, and pricing.
brookseven 10/9/2013 | 3:14:22 PM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology
Okay, back when I was with AFC I lobbied the FCC about the FTTC rules as it affected the rollout in BellSouth.  If I recall correctly, we settled on a new build (at least) 500' FTTC build to have the same unbundling rules as FTTH.

I would think that this means that U-Verse is NOT part of this rule and in fact is subject to UNE-L and Pronto style unbundling.  Anybody thought that through?



mendyk 10/9/2013 | 3:12:54 PM
Re: Friends in High Places Imagine being sent to prison for showing up at an industry event. As if just being at the event weren't punishment enough.
Dan'l Miller 10/9/2013 | 2:43:43 PM
Re: Friends in High Places http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antideficiency_Act


Under the pain of up to 2 years of imprisonment and up to $5000 fine or both, the Antideficiency Act of 1870 (as amended over the years) prohibits a furloughed employee of the federal government even voluntary extracurricular performance of their government duties during a furlough that is due to lack of Congressionally-appropriated funds under Article 1 Section 9 Clause 7 of the federal Constitution.  The only exception to this prohibition is dire emergencies that threaten life or property.  Hence, furloughed federal employees showing up at an industry consortium would need to be demonstrably unconnected to their station in life at the office from which they are furloughed.  Few people have an (authorized, legitimate) extracurricular career that approximates their day-job career; hence that demonstrability is a rather huge hurdle to pass at the GAO and the various Offices of the Inspectors General.  Avoidance of up to 2 years of prison time and of up to $5000 fine is decisively not "lame", but wise and prudent.
Liz Greenberg 10/9/2013 | 1:57:13 PM
Re: Lots of Problems With Study's Ideology @kbode, you are right on target. This is AT&T speaking out of both sides of their mouths and hoping that regulators believe all their hype.  If they truly believed that wireless, IP was the entire answer they would not be roling out thousands of miles of fiber for Uverse!  They KNOW that they cannot rely on wireless for the bulk of the transmission and what they are truly hoping for is total deregulation to force POTS customers onto either of their higher revenue services - wireless or Uverse.  We have to hope that anybody in government is smart enough to see through them.  As we all know, it took regulation to break up the old AT&T and without the MFJ we would not have the networks or technologies that we have today.  Now it is not just AT&T but Verizon, Comcast, TWC and others that must be watched or consumers will lose out.
DanJones 10/9/2013 | 12:03:04 PM
Re: Friends in High Places Shutdown=no money=no show.


Wonder how this might be affecting broadband stimulus funding too.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Sign In