Connect with us

FCC

Analysis: For AT&T, It’s All About The Spectrum

WASHINGTON March 29, 2011 – With the acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T may be not only solving a long standing question about where it would find the spectrum to deploy its planned 4G network, but also make a leap in its public image.

Currently, AT&T uses a band of spectrum not supported by any other carrier in the world, meaning handsets must be specially made for the carrier. Both T-Mobile and AT&T use the same base technology, but the two carriers run their 3G networks on different bands of spectrum. The acquisition of T-Mobile would greatly increase the amount of spectrum and infrastructure that AT&T would possess, bringing service to a greater number of Americans.

Published

on

WASHINGTON March 29, 2011 – With the acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T may be not only solving a long standing question about where it would find the spectrum to deploy its planned 4G network, but also make a leap in its public image.

Currently, AT&T uses a band of spectrum not supported by any other carrier in the world, meaning handsets must be specially made for the carrier. Both T-Mobile and AT&T use the same base technology, but the two carriers run their 3G networks on different bands of spectrum. The acquisition of T-Mobile would greatly increase the amount of spectrum and infrastructure that AT&T would possess, bringing service to a greater number of Americans.

For example, T-Mobile is currently far ahead of AT&T on building HSPA+, an intermediate 4G technology that fits right between the carriers’ existing 3G networks and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Immediately, AT&T  would be able to improve it’s current 3G speed and coverage by redeploying the infrastructure to speed up and widen its 3G coverage.

Long term, AT&T has focused on building its next-generation LTE infrastructure, but has fallen behind Verizon in actually deploying the technology. If the T-Mobile acquisition goes forward, AT&T would be able to re allocate the spectrum it acquires from T-Mobile and expand its LTE service more rapidly,  closing the gap that Verizon is currently widening.

AT&T confirmed this plan in a call with investors following the announcement of the potential acquisition. The company’s roadmap calls for eventually moving T-Mobile’s subscribers off the 1700 megahertz  3G spectrum they currently occupy.  AT&T will then combine this spectrum with other availible spectrum it already owns to make LTE service available to an estimated 95 percent of Americans. The projected roadmap calls for this network to be fully in place by 2013, making the deal imperative to AT&T’s competitiveness, as spectrum is a large part of what has been missing from the carrier’s past plans.

Spectrum, therefore, is the keystone to AT&T’s future. The company’s plan to acquire T-Mobile utilizes the current assets T-Mobile possesses that will improve and expand AT&T’s network and give a definite shape shape to it’s future plans. AT&T suffered blows to its public image in the last year from numerous directions: losing iPhone exclusivity, the unpopular introduction of capped data plans, and repeated issues with call reliability. The acquisition of T-Mobile would allow AT&T to cultivate an image of a faster, newer network with a larger amount of available spectrum, possibly placing it ahead of its closest competitor Verizon.

Although he declined to comment specifically on the deal, FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, echoed his long held sentiment about the importance of spectrum while at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Orlando last week: “Spectrum is the oxygen that allows all of these mobile innovations to breathe. Whether or not most Americans know the physics of spectrum, they know what it feels like to have a dropped call or a slow connection or cranky Wi-Fi.”

And it looks like that is what this deal is about: AT&T’s need for more spectrum both technologically and in the public perception.

 

Nate Hakken is a native of Washington, DC. As the son of two itinerant academics, Nate spent much of his childhood living in England and Scandinavia. He has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, as well as a J.D. from Vermont Law School, where he studied Internet and technology law. Nate is a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as a sound engineer, teacher, camp director, outdoor adventure guide, and medical researcher. Outside of work, he is an avid cyclist who competes across the Mid-Atlantic and has been known to play the guitar when asked nicely.

FCC

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Shares Proposal to Promote Broadband Competition In Apartment Buildings

If adopted, the FCC’s regulations would increase broadband options for tenants.

Published

on

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

WASHINGTON, January 21, 2022––Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared a draft regulation that aims to would promote competition and greater broadband choice for tenants in apartment buildings.

If adopted, the regulations would prevent practices that keep tenants from choosing their own broadband provider.

“With more than one-third of the U.S. population living in apartments, mobile home parks, condominiums, and public housing, it’s time to crack down on practices that lock out broadband competition and consumer choice,” said Rosenworcel.

The proposal would prohibit broadband providers from entering into revenue-sharing agreements with apartment building owners. If approved by her fellow commissioners and hence adopted as official agency rules, the regulation would also require providers to disclose any existing marketing arrangements they have with building owners to tenants.

“Consumers deserve access to a choice of providers in their buildings. I look forward to having my colleagues join me in lifting the obstacles to competitive choice for broadband for the millions of tenants across the nation,” Rosenworcel said.

Her proposal builds on a September 2021 notice that invited a new round of comments during an examination of broadband access In apartment and office buildings. The FCC said the proceedings revealed “a pattern of new practices that inhibit competition, contrary to the Commission’s goals, and limit opportunities for competitive providers to offer service for apartment, condo and office building unit tenants.”

More than one third of the U.S. population lives in condominiums or apartment buildings.

Exclusive agreements between broadband providers and buildings owners limit options for tenants, who are precluded from access to new carriers. “Across the country throughout the pandemic, the need for more and better broadband access has never been clearer,” Rosenworcel added.

Continue Reading

FCC

FCC Announces Largest Approval Yet for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund: $1 Billion

The agency said Thursday it has approved $1 billion to 69 providers in 32 states.

Published

on

Photo illustration from the Pelican Institute

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission announced its largest approval yet from the $9.2-billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, greenlighting on Thursday $1 billion from a reverse auction process that ended with award announcements in December but that the new-look agency has been scrutinizing in recent months.

The agency said in a press release that this fifth round of approvals includes 69 providers who are expected to serve 518,000 locations in 32 states over 10 years. Its previous round approved $700 million worth of applications to cover 26 states. Previous rounds approved $554 million for broadband in 19 states, $311 million in 36 states, and $163 million in 21 states.

The agency still has some way to approve the entirety of the fund, as it’s asked providers that were previously awarded RDOF money in December to revisit their applications to see if the areas they have bid for are not already served. So far, a growing list have defaulted on their respective areas, some saying it was newer FCC maps that showed them what they didn’t previously know. The agency said Thursday that about 5,000 census blocks have been cleared as a result of that process.

The FCC also said Thursday it saved $350 million from winning bidders that have either failed to get state certification or didn’t follow through on their applications. In one winning bidder’s case, the FCC said Thursday Hotwire violated the application rules by changing its ownership structure.

“This latest round of funding will open up even more opportunities to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, reliable broadband service,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “Today’s actions reflect the hard work we’ve put in over the past year to ensure that applicants meet their obligations and follow our rules.  With thoughtful oversight, this program can direct funding to areas that need broadband and to providers who are qualified to do the job.”

Continue Reading

FCC

Local Government Advisors Concerned by Delay in Sohn Confirmation Process

They also believe Alan Davidson will be viewed more favorably to head the NTIA.

Published

on

Nominee for FCC Commissioner Gigi Sohn

WASHINGTON, December 14, 2021 – Local government advisors are concerned by delays in the confirmation process of Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Federal Communications Commission, and what those delays will mean for broadband services in local communities.

At the moment, there are reportedly not enough votes from Democrats to confirm Sohn.

The panel of local advisors at a National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors on Monday said the FCC would likely remain split 2-2 between Democrats and Republicans until at least February, when the panel says Sohn’s confirmation will probably pass the Senate.

Such a split would prevent the agency from making some major decisions that would ramp up programs to expand broadband access for Americans. For this reason, several civil society groups have asked the Senate for a swift confirmation process of Biden’s nominees.

The panel also said that Biden’s nominee to head the National Telecommunications and Information Association, Alan Davidson, will likely be reported favorably out of committee.

Logistical problems for the Affordable Connectivity Program

Panelists also spent significant time discussing what current regulatory agency efforts mean for connectivity.

The panel critiqued the FCC’s transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit to the Affordable Connectivity Program provided for by the newly-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to continue providing students with internet access for e-learning. The program provides monthly subsidies for connectivity and devices for eligible students.

This transition is planned to take place with the start of the 2022 new year, and the agency is fielding comments on how to transition.

The panel stated that because this transition takes place during the school year, it has the potential to strand students without connectivity services. Panelists noted that they have been trying to communicate these concerns to the FCC.

The FCC recently eliminated an enrollment freeze in the EBB that was planned to take place during the transition to the ACP.

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Get twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts.
* = required field

Trending