In comments filed with the FCC on Monday, AT&T endorsed a recent U.S. State Department petition which asks the FCC to remove Cuba from the agency’s exclusion list for the provision of telecommunications services between the U.S. and international points pursuant to Section 214 of the 1934 Communications Act.  AT&T proclaimed that a grant of the petition would “help foster competition for bilateral communications between the United States and Cuba.” 
 
Filed with the FCC in October, the State Department petition follows up on the historic reopening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba last year.  At that time, the Obama Administration affirmed that the agreement between the two countries would call for “new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to communications and their ability to communicate.”  The FCC promised that it would “review its relevant policies and . . . work with the State Department and other agencies regarding [the] licensing [of] telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba.”  
Cuba is the only remaining nation on the FCC’s Section 214 exclusion list, and applications to provide service to exclusion list countries are processed by the FCC on a non-streamlined basis and in consultation with the State Department and other federal agencies with respect to national security, competitive and other concerns.  Noting that “carriers with global Section 214 authority may provide service today to all countries except Cuba,” AT&T argued that “providing the same treatment for service to Cuba by removing this country from the exclusion list would help . . . increase the flow of information to and from the Cuban people” in advancement of Obama Administration objectives.  AT&T also advised the FCC to “modify the licensing of telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba, as recommended by the State Department, to remove nondiscrimination requirements on the U.S.-Cuba route.”  Declaring that such a step would “extend to the U.S.-Cuba route the same regulatory treatment that applies to all other international routes today,” AT&T stressed: “this change would further encourage competition . . . by allowing U.S. carriers to enter into market-based arrangements on the U.S.-Cuba route.”