Carrier Catchup: A Look At The Latest Buzz From The Telecom Industry In February

Keeping Current

It's safe to say that the country's largest broadband and wireless providers haven't sat still so far this year. It's also safe to say that the government hasn't sat still either, getting involved in large-scale acquisitions and rolling back Net neutrality regulations.

CRN rounded up news from the industry-leading service providers and other attention-grabbing headlines that happened within the telecom industry in February that solution providers should know about.

FCC Set To End Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission officially published its repeal of the Obama-era Net neutrality rules into the Federal Register, the government's official record of all administrative actions. The move follows the December vote by the Republican-led FCC to put an end to Net neutrality regulations.

Under the new rules proposed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (pictured), the decision will allow telecom providers to block and "throttle" traffic from internet providers, but broadband companies will have to disclose to users how they handle web traffic. Barring pushback from state attorneys general and advocacy groups, Net neutrality rules could be abolished by April 23.

AT&T's Proposed Time Warner Deal Suffers Setback

AT&T tangled with the Department of Justice in February when a judge overseeing the Justice Department's lawsuit to block AT&T's Time Warner deal turned down the telecom's request to see communications records between the White House and Attorney General, as well as those between the Attorney General and the antitrust division regarding the deal.

Dallas-based AT&T asked to see the records in preparation for its defense in the scheduled March trial to determine the Justice Department's antitrust concerns.

AT&T, for its part, said that it respects the judge's decision and "looks forward" to the upcoming trial.

CenturyLink To Open Sales Center For SMB Customers

CenturyLink revealed that it will open a new sales center focused solely on selling services and supporting customers in the SMB market as the company doubles down on its focus on business customers.

The new sales center will be located in the same city that CenturyLink calls its headquarters, Monroe, La., and will be staffed with 150 employees, the carrier said.

CenturyLink, now combined with Level 3 Communications, said that it plans on generating about 75 percent of its core revenue from business customers.

Verizon Unveils SD-WLAN Offering

Verizon Enterprise Solutions expanded its Virtual Network Services portfolio when it launched its software-defined wireless local area network (SD-WLAN) managed offering.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier relied on patented artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology from Mist Systems in its latest offering, which can monitor and manage wireless LANs automatically for business customers. This can help customers spot and address issues in real time, according to Verizon.

The SD-WLAN offering also includes virtual beacon technology and next-generation location-based services for advanced wayfinding, asset-tracking, and integration with Internet of Things devices, Verizon said.

T-Mobile Expands Board Of Directors

Wireless carrier T-Mobile has revealed that it is expanding its board of directors with the addition of Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert as a director.

Sievert, who joined the company as executive vice president and chief marketing officer in 2012, became COO in 2015. Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile's board now stands at 12 members.

The famously magenta-colored carrier also recently went green when T-Mobile announced its commitment to clean energy, saying that it will move to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2021.