Ms. Buyer is a regular columnist for the THE BULLETIN of the Bar Association of Erie County and is a contributor to No Jitter. Previously, she has written numerous commentaries on telecommunications law for other legal and telecommunications publications including, among others, The Daily Record, Communications Convergence and Computer Telephony. Her articles cover a broad range of topics highlighting current telecommunications issues including federal and state telecommunications policy, litigation, wireless technologies, spectrum policy, FCC initiatives, and industry consolidation. Martha Buyer has also contributed to the ABA Journal Report.


Cramming Makes a Comeback

This may sound obvious, but it’s important to not only pay those pesky phone bills, but to read and understand them as well. Although I have made a career out of reading and knowing the ins and outs of telecom contracts and bills, and while I’m very happy with the work that I do, regardless of how complex and dry these documents may be to the average corporate or government consumer, I can’t say strongly enough that in this context (and almost all others—with the limited exception of hot dog production), knowledge is power.

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Wiretap Decision Aims at Feds, Not Carriers

While most of us were in the throes of a self-induced butter/sugar-diet coma between Christmas and New Years', the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced two important decisions, covering a number of consolidated cases on the issue of warrantless wiretapping. The program, under which telecommunications service companies conducted warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens at the direction of the National Security Administration (NSA), allowed access to both domestic and international telephone communications and emails without warrant. These actions, which were initially were disclosed in 2005 by the New York Times, and confirmed by the President in early 2006, were originally approved by President George W. Bush, shortly after the tragic events of 9/11.

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AT&T Calls Off T-Mobile Deal

AT&T recognized that the winds from Washington were not blowing favorably.

Yesterday, while in the midst of doing something else, I noticed news flashing across my screen that the AT&T had withdrawn its offer of $39 billion for T-Mobile USA. This is very big news for a number of reasons.

  1. It was a huge merger that would have left AT&T with 120 million customers.
  2. It would arguably have been bad for consumers and good for shareholders.

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Universal Service Reform: An Overview of Changes

The FCC will create two funds: the Connect America Fund, which will provide support to traditional landline broadband services; and the Mobility Fund.
For almost as long as the Universal Service Fund has been in place (since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 created it), there has been talk of its reform--both from those who contribute to the fund and the recipients of that funding. Particularly within the past five years, as voice services looked less like traditional analog voice and more like data, the calls for reform have morphed into downright bellows.

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Lost in Space…No Really…

Lost in (Techno) Space
Wireless bandwidth is a limited commodity. Period. As increasing numbers of us acquire and use more wireless devices that are increasingly sophisticated and which use increasing amounts of bandwidth, the amount of unclaimed bandwidth decreases, leaving not only consumers, but first responders, air traffic controllers and government entities among others, with limited options.

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