AT&T acknowledges need for a national broadband policy

AT&T’s Senior Vice President Jim Ciconni says that the nation needs a national broadband policy.In its coverage of the recent Technology Policy Summit in San Jose, Technology Liberation Front quotes AT&T’s Senior Vice President Jim Ciconni saying that the nation needs a national broadband policy.

It’s good to see a growing concensus on this front. We’ve noted in the past that the nation’s telcos, which once fought the spread of municipal wireless, have been moving to a more neutral position on municipal wireless and the need for a national broadband policy.

Unfortunately, Verizon still oppposes a national broadband policy. The TLF report quotes Verizon Executive Vice President Tom Tauke saying a policy would “do more harm than good.” The report, unfortunately, did not give the basis for his remarks (maybe he didn’t have any). It was clear, though, that Tauke is not opposed to accepting government money to subsidize private build-outs.

As a curious sidenote, the TLF report comes in the same week as PCMagazine’s irrepressible columnist John Dvorak claims there is “mounting evidence that the cellular service companies are going to do whatever they can to kill Wi-Fi.”

John’s columns always make fun reading but, here again, the basis for the claim was not clear. We’ve seen the intensity of telco opposition to muni-wireless diminish in recent years, with AT&T and Sprint-Nextel spin-off Embarq carving a presence in the market.

Even Verizon, which once openly lobbied for anti-muni legislation, has lowered its voice. The TLF report quotes Verizon Communications’ Executive Vice President Tom Tauke in a back-handed endorsement of municipal wireless, saying “”If municipalities want to put their tax money into that, wonderful, more power to them. These things take a lot of money, and Wall Street doesn’t reward it at all.”

Click here to read the TLF report.

Click here to read Dvorak’s column.


  1. Laura Unger says

    As a worker at AT&T and a member of the Communications Workers of America it is unusual for me to find something I can agree with by AT&T management. There is no question in my mind that we need a national boradband policy. We need a nationalpolicy (like so many other countries have that calls for faster buildout, higher speeds, affordable and universal access. Right now we don’t even have a clear map of what is available and at what speeds. This is crucial for our national security, for healthcare, for democratic participation, for so many things. We ar working on this issue. For more information check out