Of Merger Rumors and Mayhem

Posted by Gary Wilson, Product Manager

May 13, 2014; 1:30 PM

As if AT&T wasn’t content enough with trying to buy pretty much everyone, now the rumors are they might be considering buying DirecTV. What chance would an acquisition like that have? Well, one just needs to look back at some of the groundwork done by the band of Merry Men at the FCC. In 2010, the FCC wrote a paper titled, “The Broadband Availability Gap” (OBI Technical Paper No. 1). One interesting find was that there were 7 million housing units underserved with broadband, meaning they didn’t meet the minimum requirements laid out by the FCC (4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload). So, for those areas, satellite was considered an excellent choice. If you think about it, according to the FCC, offering more satellite broadband at the newer improved data rates is a “good thing.”

Now AT&T has been selling off all its fixed line assets in many of these markets where satellite is considered a “good thing.” With one acquisition, AT&T would go back to serving those very same markets. Now working with DirecTV wouldn’t be something new for AT&T since they already resell satellite services in some areas. What’s interesting is AT&T’s market could expand into areas they had left previously to compete with the local fixed line providers that took over – competing over the very same fixed line assets AT&T (or SBC in many cases) built! A bit ironic, but such is the way in telecom. 

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Topics: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

This Data Is Brought to You by the Letters A, T, and T

Posted by Lorie Robinson, Product Manager

January 21, 2014; 4:01 PM

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held recently, and one company’s announcement caught the eye of the technology blogosphere. In a bold move, AT&T introduced its long-rumored Sponsored Data billing program. Mobile app developers and content providers can now pay AT&T to sponsor bits of data consumed by their customers, rather than counting it against the customer’s data plan.

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Topics: BYOD, technology, net neutrality, product development, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Posted by Shawn Guenther, Vice President of Product Management & Development

January 13, 2014; 12:05 PM

Shortly after I originally wrote my last post, the FCC held its December open meeting. At this meeting, the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force gave its update on the transition. Chairman Tom Wheeler’s response refers to the “transition from 19th-century analog technology to 21st-century IP technology.”

This hand-waving of the hundred years’ worth of development to get from analog to IP demonstrates that the focus is on rapid advancement and that, while customers will be kept in mind, the intent is to disrupt minimally rather than to eliminate disruption. This is a major shift from an organization which has typically driven policy based on the “five nines” of reliability.

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Topics: Voice over IP (VoIP), Public Service Telephone Network (PTSN), Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Big Shoes and Plain Old Telephones

Posted by Shawn Guenther, Vice President of Product Management & Development

January 7, 2014; 9:12 AM

Early on the morning of November 5, 2013, our industry changed forever, and you may have missed it. I could be referring to the launch of new software for the ESI Communications Servers and IP Server 900 product lines, but that would be pushy. The event I’m talking about is the ascension of Tom Wheeler as Chairman of the FCC. In a transition time when a new executive usually would be breaking in a new chair, Mr. Wheeler has made big moves. Before closing out his second week as Chairman, he put the nation on notice that the PSTN is likely to be voted off the island.

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Topics: Voice over IP (VoIP), Public Service Telephone Network (PTSN), Federal Communications Commission (FCC)