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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 Live Online Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – Today’s Infrastructure, Tomorrow’s Speeds

Mala Goodrich

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 28, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Today’s Infrastructure, Tomorrow’s Speeds”

  • An estimated 50 percent of United States households will be served by fiber-optic technology by 2025. While impressive, the figure still leaves half of America to rely on older technologies in an increasingly bandwidth-hungry world. In this installment of Broadband Breakfast Live Online, we’ll explore innovative solutions that increase the capabilities of infrastructure already in place.

Panelists:

  • Reg Weiser, Founder and CEO, Positron Access Solutions
  • Panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Reg Weiser is the founder and CEO of Positron Access Solutions, an innovative telecom equipment manufacturer that enables Gigabit services over telephone and coax wiring. Reg serves on the advisory board of Dalhousie University where he received his engineering and honorary doctorate degrees. He was a recipient of the Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Export Canada Award, and in 2005 was inducted in the Canadian Engineering Academy.  Reg’s passion is to help North America become a leader in high-speed broadband penetration.

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 Live Online Wednesday April 21, 2021 – Intellectual Property and Fair Use

Panelists include Joseph Gratz, Durie Tangri, Arthur Sidney, CCIA, Michael Graif, Mintz, and moderated by Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast.

Mala Goodrich

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 21, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Intellectual Property and Fair Use: Restoring Balance to the Universe”

  • Intellectual Property is often seen as a cornerstone of innovation, creating an incentive structure that lets those investing in research and development reap the benefits of their hard work. But many argue that it is possible for intellectual property laws to go too far in the other direction, stifling the very progress they aim to protect. Just weeks after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on fair use, in Google v. Oracle, and one week before World Intellectual Property Day, this episode of Broadband Breakfast Live Online will feature technology and media industry insiders address the current balance in intellectual property right now.

Panelists:

  • Joseph Gratz, Partner, Durie Tangri LLP
  • Arthur Sidney, Vice President of Public Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
  • Michael R. Graif, Intellectual Property Member, Mintz
  • Other panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Joseph C. Gratz is partner with Durie Tangri LLP in San Francisco.  His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation relating to the Internet. He has represented Facebook, Google, and Amazon, among others, and testified last year before the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee regarding Internet intermediary liability.

Arthur D. Sidney, LLM is the VP of Public Policy at CCIA, where he started in June 2020. Formerly, he was chief of staff and chief counsel to Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and served as an international trade attorney with the U.S. Department of Commerce where he focused upon trade remedies. Arthur has served as an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, American University, Washington College of Law, and University of Maryland University College now University of Maryland Global campuses.

Michael R. Graif is an intellectual property Member at Mintz and CIPP-US certified. He advises on copyright and trademark enforcement and protection, software, and technology and licensing transactions. He also teaches a Social Media Law Course at Penn Law and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Panelist Resources

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 Live Online Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – Financing Broadband Infrastructure

Guests include Jeff Johnston of CoBank, Tim Herwig of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Lauren Mathena of Mid-Atlantic Broadband and Christopher Mitchell or the Institute for Local Self Reliance. Moderated by Drew Clark of Broadband Breakfast.

Mala Goodrich

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See “Partnerships And Trust Go Long Way To Securing Financing For Broadband Projects, Panelists Say,” Broadband Breakfast, April 16, 2021

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 14, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Less Than a Billion: Financing Broadband Infrastructure”

  • Congress has appropriated $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit and $7.2 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, and more is being discussed. But internet projects still face financial constraints and regulatory hurdles in navigating the maze to obtain broadband infrastructure financing. This panel will consider funding and cost issues from the perspective of a broadband builder. How can broadband entities most effectively deploy private and public financing to meet increasing high-speed connectivity needs?

Panelists:

  • Jeff Johnston, Lead Communications Economist at CoBank
  • Tim Herwig, District Community Affairs Officer at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Lauren Mathena, Director of Economic Development and Community Engagement at Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC)
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Jeff Johnston is a lead communications economist in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division, where he focuses on the communications industry. His work revolves around identifying emerging technologies, business models, risks and opportunities within the industry, and providing strategic analyses to both internal and external stakeholders. Prior to joining CoBank in 2018, Mr. Johnston was an equity analyst covering the tech, media and telecom sectors. Jeff has also held various senior management positions in the telecommunications industry. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from York University and he is also CFA charterholder.

Timothy Herwig is a District Community Affairs Officer with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  He is officed in Chicago.  Among other responsibilities, Herwig advocates for community reinvestment by providing technical assistance to banks interested in financing rural broadband infrastructure and rural ISPs looking for private sources of debt or equity financing.  The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks.

Christopher Mitchell currently serves as the director of the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Community Broadband Network Initiative. His work focuses on helping communities ensure that the telecommunications networks upon which they depend are accountable to the community. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year.

Lauren Mathena is the Director of Economic Development and Community Engagement at Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC). In her role, Mathena serves as a regional ecosystem builder and represents MBC to a variety of local and state partners, including Southern Virginia’s economic developers who rely on MBC’s network for business attraction, retention and expansion. She is currently leading program development for the SOVA Innovation Hub, a 501(c)3 non-profit created in early 2020 with investments by MBC and Microsoft TechSpark.

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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