Are AT&T and other providers changing their tune about mapping or changing their spin?

AT&T is getting a lot of heat after CEO John Stankey published a column in Politico. As Ars Technica reports…

AT&T—which has spent the past decade fighting US-government attempts to improve the country’s horrible broadband maps—is now claiming to be very concerned about the mapping problem that has helped thwart efforts to wire up millions of American homes without adequate broadband access.

AT&T CEO John Stankey this week published an opinion piece in Politico with the apparent goals of improving AT&T’s reputation, reducing government regulation, and getting more federal funding. The piece is titled, “A Game Plan to—Finally—Connect Every American to Broadband,” and the first item on AT&T’s game plan is “to identify where broadband is unavailable with geographic precision.”

Most of the heat stems from the fact that AT&T (and other broadband providers) have a history of not supporting mapping. So folks are questioning the change. Medium offers a high level framework upon which they build a case…

AT&T’s Stankey game plan has 4 goal posts.

  • POINT 1:“First, we need to identify where broadband is unavailable with geographic precision.”
  • POINT 2:“Second, the Federal Communication Commission’s program that supports connectivity for low-income households needs to be modernized.”
  • POINT 3:“Third, as Congress debates earmarking up to $80 billion for rural broadband as part of the next round of pandemic relief, we should give equal weight to wired and wireless options.”
  • POINT 4:“Lastly, Washington should enact a policy framework that incorporates sustainable funding mechanisms for the long run.”

Our take is different: America needs:

  • RESPONSE, POINT 1:A complete accounting of AT&T’s copper and fiber lines in service, “lit” or not lit, (known as “dark”, which are installed but not in use) needs to be done immediately in each state utility.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 2:An investigation to explain why America’s prices are 3–14 times more expensive that other countries, worldwide — with the goal: lower rates 50% or more.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 3:Go after the $95 billion in overcharging over the last 5 years from AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink — and use the money to solve the Digital Divide, once and for all.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 4:New federal and state government oversight andenforcement with penalties and fines must happen now.

The situation calls for a high ranking ombudsman who looks out for the short and long terms needs of consumers and citizens. Or maybe, as is happening, it calls for broadband proponents to respond to Stankey’s position and start a conversation that moves us farther afield.

 

This entry was posted in Policy, Vendors, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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