Tag Archives: ustelecom

We’re doing better than Bangladesh, so give us money, telcos tell U.S. senate

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

India utility pole

Telephone companies don’t appear to having the same success cable companies have had with broadband promotions during the covid–19 emergency. The head of telco’s primary Washington, D.C. lobbying front organisation asked a U.S. senate committee on Wednesday to “keep providers on sound financial footing” and urged the use of existing, incumbent-friendly federal programs to distribute subsidies directly to them.

California’s two major telephone companies – AT&T and Frontier Communications – aren’t offering service at the 25 Mbps at $15 or less per month covid–19 benchmark set by California Public Utilities Commission president Marybel Batjer. AT&T has a 10 Mbps or less for $10 offer for low income customers, while bankrupt Frontier tops out at 12 Mbps for $20 for legacy copper customers.

As lobbyists do, USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter told of the hardships his clients face and lavished accolades upon them for persevering nonetheless. That list includes AT&T and Frontier, as well as Verizon, Centurylink and lots of small telephone companies. But not major cable companies. When Spalter spoke about their performance during the emergency, though, it was more like damning with faint praise…

Even as traffic has at times soared more than 25 percent higher than pre-crisis levels, the performance of our networks remains seamless for our nation’s citizens. Indeed, according to one recent study, “[o]f the top 10 countries in the world by population, the U.S. is the only [country] that recorded no download speed degradation on average in the month of April.”

So who are AT&T, Frontier and friends beating? China, for one, which is the world’s most populous country. Not far behind is India – both countries have more than a billion residents. It’s a long drop to third place, which belongs to the U.S. with 333 million people. The remaining seven are in the 100 million/200 million range: Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia and Mexico.

Yes. Our broadband networks are holding up better than their’s.

First challenges to FCC common carrier rules enter a legal lottery

by Steve Blum • , , ,

How justice is done.

Two court challenges were filed today with the intent of overturning the FCC’s decision to regulate Internet service and infrastructure using common carrier rules. One was filed in Washington, DC by an industry lobbying group – the US Telecom Association – and the other by a Texan wireless ISP – Alamo Broadband – in New Orleans, both with the respective federal appeals courts there.

US Telecom does not like anything about the rules

US Telecom seeks review of the Order on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act…violates federal law, including, but not limited to, the Constitution, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and FCC regulations promulgated thereunder; conflicts with the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of [federal law]; and is otherwise contrary to law.

As US Telecom acknowledges its appeal might be too early in the process, but all that means is they’ll re-file later. The New Orleans filing isn’t available yet, but it’s said to take similar tack.

The reason for filing now is to try to beat the deadline for getting in on the appeals court lottery. As Harold Feld explains well in his blog, when challenges are filed in multiple courts within the first ten days of a new regulation becoming effective, the court that gets the case is selected at random. It was the DC appeals court that overturned the FCC’s last attempt at net neutrality rules, which suits the big lobbying groups like US Telecom as well as mobile phone and cable TV trade organisations. No idea if Alamo Broadband thinks there’s an advantage to be had in New Orleans, or, possibly, if it’s a stalking horse for pro-common carrier advocates who might see friendlier judges there.

Update: Alamo Broadband’s filing can be downloaded here. It’s pretty much the same as US Telecom’s.