Monday, April 11, 2016

AT&T seeks state sanction to exit residential premise service, transition customers to mobile wireless

Fellow blogger Steve Blum of Tellus Venture Associates calls bullshit on AT&T for sponsoring California legislation that would relieve it from its premise landline universal service obligations under Title II of the federal Communications Act. Blum has the same problem with the bill as I do. It's dressed up as enabling AT&T to transition from copper POTS service to Internet protocol-based service. As Blum points out, AT&T can do that without the need for enabling legislation. It has chosen not to make an orderly transition over the past two decades. That's a business issue, not one of regulatory policy.

The bill is essentially seeking state sanction to transition AT&T residential landline customers to its mobile wireless service. The thing is, that's not premise service under Title II's universal service obligation. However, with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission not enforcing its 2015 Open Internet rulemaking bringing IP-based services under Title II's universal service requirement, AT&T faces no regulatory consequence for "mobilizing the world" of its residential customers with service not engineered or priced for residential premise service.

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