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May Broadband Breakfast Explores AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

WASHINGTON May 18, 2011 – Broadband Breakfast gathered former Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice officials along with leading industry experts to explore how the government will scrutinize the AT&T T-Mobile merger.

Will the FCC or the Justice Department Be Tougher on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

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WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 – Broadband Breakfast gathered former Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice officials along with leading industry experts to explore how the government will scrutinize the AT&T T-Mobile merger.

“The Justice Department carriers a much lower burden of proof than the FCC does in approving the merger,” said Justin Hurwitz, visiting assistant professor of law at George Mason University. “The question that the Justice Department will ask is ‘will this make the market worse,’ not if it will make the market better.”

 

Will the FCC or the Justice Department Be Tougher on the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? from Broadband Breakfast on Vimeo.

Hurwitz, a former Department of Justice antitrust attorney, predicted that the DOJ will take its time and carefully review the merger. The transaction review, he said, would likely take over a year before any decision was made.

Alan Pearce, a former Chief Economist at the FCC, predicted that the merger review would take a full year due to the large scale and scope.

“In contrast to the Justice Department, the FCC will look at how the market will change not only if the merger proceeds but if it is called off,” Pearce said. “The large kill fee which T-Mobile will receive if the merger fails may actually be the kiss of life they need to continue on for a few more years.”

Reuters has reported that if the government rejects the merger T-Mobile will receive cash and asset worth $6 billion: $3 billion in cash, $2 billion in spectrum, and a roaming agreement worth an estimated $1 billion.

Pearce also expressed fears over how the merger will affect handset availability to smaller carriers and the openness of their devices.

“AT&T likes to enter into long-term exclusivity deals – such as with the iPhone – and they have also been historically very opposed to opening up their devices,” he said.

Until this week, AT&T limited the types of applications users could install on Android, Google’s open mobile operating system.

Caressa Bennet, General Counsel, Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG), echoed Pearce’s fears about handset access saying that even with two major GSM wireless firms it is difficult for smaller GSM carriers to gain access to the newest handsets. She said the opposition to the deal by rural carriers would be “a fight to the death.”

“The merging of T-Mobile and AT&T will create a large nationwide GSM mobile provider which will add pressure to handset makers to enter into exclusive agreements with AT&T to produce handsets which will not operate on competing networks,” Bennet said. “AT&T already prevents many rural customers from roaming onto their network and this would only hurt rural customers.”
Bennet also dismissed the idea that AT&T would follow conditions that may be placed on the merger. According to Bennet very few firms have fully complied with rural build-out conditions in previous mergers and the government has taken little action to enforce compliance.

Ernesto Falcon, Director of Government Affairs, Public Knowledge said that the merger would create a duopoly with Sprint unable to effectively compete.

“Due to the high level of competition in the wireless market, the FCC did not expand its Open Internet rules to mobile broadband, however, after this merger the duopoly should be required to follow the rules,” Falcon said.

Debbie Goldman, Telecommunications Policy Director & Research Economist, Communications Workers of America, defended the merger saying that if AT&T did not offer buy T-Mobile someone else would have.

“T-Mobile is clearly unable to continue operating and would have been sold off to someone. By being purchased by AT&T the networks assets will not be wasted due to the interoperability between the technologies,” Goldman said. “By harnessing the power of the two networks, AT&T will be able to accelerate and enhance their next generation mobile broadband deployment.”

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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Broadband Breakfast on January 19, 2022 — The Community Broadband Network Approach to Infrastructure Funding

Community broadband networks will play a crucial role in implementation of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act.

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See Infrastructure Bill Brings New Focus on Decision Making at Community Level, Broadband Breakfast, January 24, 2022

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the January 19, 2022, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 12 Noon ET — The Community Broadband Network Approach to Infrastructure Funding

Community broadband networks will play a crucial role in the implementation of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, particularly the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, and the Digital Equity Act. This vital session of Broadband Breakfast Live Online will bring our friends from MuniNetworks.org, the Community Broadband Networks Initiative of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, to discuss the issues, trends and concerns they are following. What open questions remain about the IIJA rules? How do the Treasury Department’s rules on the State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program interact with the IIJA program? What concerns should community networks have about the next stages of federal funding in their states?

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • DeAnne Cuellar, Community Broadband Outreach Team Lead, ILSR’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Sean Gonsalves, Senior Reporter, Editor and Researcher, ILSR’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, Senior Researcher, ILSR’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Christopher Mitchell, Director, ILSR’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Please note: Our event on “State Broadband Officials and the Broadband Infrastructure Surge” has been moved to February 16, 2022.

Panelist resources:

DeAnne Cuellar is a tech equity advocate and communications strategist from San Antonio, Texas. She served as Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s digital inclusion appointee to the City of San Antonio’s Innovation & Technology Committee, resulting in several policy and funding priorities to close the digital divide. As a social impact entrepreneur, she co-founded several cross-sector nonprofit initiatives, advocating for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion for historically underrepresented communities.

Sean Gonsalves is a longtime former reporter, columnist, and news editor with the Cape Cod Times. He is also a former nationally syndicated columnist in 22 newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, Kansas City Star and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Washington Post and the International Herald-Tribune. Sean joined the Institute for Local Self Reliance staff in October 2020 as a senior reporter, editor and researcher for ILSR’s Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken is Senior Researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. He is interested in the democratizing power of technology, systems engineering, and the history of science, technology, and medicine. Previously, Ry worked as an Adjunct Professor of American History in Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Minnesota. Ry holds a Ph.D. in American History from Oklahoma State University.

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis. Mitchell, a leading national expert on community networks, Internet access, and local broadband policies, built MuniNetworks.org, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about local government policies to improve Internet access. Its interactive community broadband network map tracks more than 600 such networks. He also hosts audio and video shows online, including Community Broadband Bits and Connect This!, and Public Knowledge presented Christopher with its Internet Protocol award in 2021, which honors those who have made significant contributions to Internet policy.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast for Lunch on February 9, 2022 — Harnessing Cryptocurrency

Broadband Breakfast returns to being the “go to” gathering place for broadband policy and internet technology in Washington.

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There are two ways to participate in this event: IN PERSON or LIVE ONLINE. To attend in person, sign up to attend in person through Eventbrite. Please arrive for lunch at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., by 11:30 a.m. to be seated for lunch. The program will begin promptly at 12 Noon ET.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 12 Noon ET — Harnessing Cryptocurrency

Join us in person for a Broadband Breakfast for Lunch on cryptocurrency. In Broadband Breakfast’s premiere session on the subject of decentralized finance, we’ll explore recent developments in the blockchain, consider the ways that that cryptocurrencies are impacting global financial transactions and transfers, and address government officials’ attempts to harness – or to banish – blockchain-based digital coinage.

There are two ways to participate in this event: IN PERSON or LIVE ONLINE. To attend in person, sign up to attend in person through EventbritePlease arrive for lunch at Clyde’s of Gallery Place (The Piedmont Room), 707 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C., by 11:30 a.m. to be seated for lunch. The program will begin promptly at 12 Noon ET.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources:

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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Broadband Breakfast on February 2, 2022 — Groundhog Day Special on Broadband Mapping (Part 1)

Mapping will play an essential role in the success of the IIJA.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 12 Noon ET — Better Broadband Mapping, Part 1

This Broadband Breakfast Live Online event will kick off a series about how we can get better broadband mapping and data for making the most of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act funds. We’ll speak with policy-makers, map-makers, state officials and those building out broadband relying on broadband maps.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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